Already 6 dogs caught and one grizzly bear-
There is probably even more by catch than reported below in Montana’s second wolf trapping season, which just began. In addition to last year’s by catch, wolf traps took a tremendous toll on Yellowstone Park wolves that wandered across the Park’s straight line border. Not reported, it is likely even more Yellowstone Park wildlife than wolves was caught. Some think that this is an insult to the entire nation.
It appears that everyone’s dog that is taken onto the public lands, some private lands and even a city parks in Montana this winter are now at risk of a trap or strangulation in a snare.
Footloose Montana is an organization devoted to bringing indiscriminate trapping under control and teaching people how to safely free their pets and other animals inadvertently (non-target animals) trapped or snared.
They have a news release giving the details of the latest dog incidents and info on freeing your dog(s). We reported earlier about the big grizzly that was accidentally a few days ago.
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Three Dogs Trapped in the Ninemile Valley, One Dead, Two injured
In early December, two dogs belonging to the Sousa family in the Nine Mile Valley were caught in traps on public land adjacent to the Sousa Ranch. The trapper released them after 24 hours in sub-zero temperatures but did not contact the owners or take the injured dogs home, even though they had phone and address on their tags, according to Jan Sousa.
Lily, an English Mastiff puppy, made her way a mile home in four hours with a frozen paw, starving and exhausted. She will lose part of her foot. The ten-year-old French Brittany, Lucy, was not so lucky. Three days later, she arrived home, with a frozen paw, septic and dehydrated. Her leg could not be saved, and she was too arthritic to be able to maneuver on three legs, so after a week in the hospital, had to be put down.
On December 15, on a Christmas tree outing about one mile past the Nine Mile Ranger Station, an 80-pound black lab named Sunny was caught in a baited trap near a pullout on a road with an air traffic control shed and a sign marked 18200.
“Before we could get our boots on, my dog Sunny was screaming in pain a short distance away,” wrote Nicole Marshall in an email to Footloose Montana’s Facebook page. “My fiancé ran to her while I held the other dog back and when he reached her (in no time at all) she was caught in a leg hold trap and bleeding from the mouth from biting at the trap.”
The dog’s damaged lower canine teeth may have to be pulled. Traps are indiscriminate, they catch anything, including endangered species, birds, and companion animals. The unlucky creature that steps in one suffers psychological and physiological trauma. Panic, thirst and hunger drive animals to chew off their feet or even twist off entire limbs to escape the extreme pain. Underwater traps for beaver and muskrat cause a slow, terrifying death by drowning and snares slowly strangle the creature, who can last for weeks as so-called jellyheads, until they are clubbed to death by the trapper.
In a Billings city park yesterday, December 19, three dogs were reported caught in two snares and one leg hold trap. This was the Phipps/Diamond X Park.
Footloose Montana also received notice on December 16 that “traps are set along the Gibbons Pass Road, starting about 200-yards from the trailhead at Lost Trail Pass. The traps are a body-grip style, sent about four feet high on the tree, with a cone and bait above that,” states the report.
Please check the map at www.footloosemontana.org for updates on trap locations reported to Footloose Montana. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406-274-7878 with any trap sightings information. Footloose Montana is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that promotes trap-free public lands for people, pets and wildlife
For instructions on how to release your dog from a trap, please see
Your friends at Footloose Montana
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.
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