An increasing number of wildlife and domestic pets mangled by traps in British Columbia is driving a call for reform on laws by the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. On Saturday, March 2, 2013, a local couple in Abbotsford discovered a coyote with his leg caught in a ‘padded’ leg-hold trap caught in some branches in a wooded area. Wildlife rehabilitation experts, Critter Care Wildlife Society (CCWS), were contacted and immediately attended the scene.
Due to the severity of his injuries, the 1 to 2 year-old coyote was euthanized, though CCWS completed an in-depth medical examination and discovered:
- The coyote had been stuck in the trap for at least two days
- The front left paw was caught in a so-called ‘padded’ leg-hold trap
- He chewed 4 to 5 centimetres into his leg, just behind the trap
- His front paw had been twisted in a complete 360 degree circle (attempting to twist away from the trap)
- The bone near the trap was broken in half – only flesh and some tendons were keeping the paw attached
- The wound was rotten and septic
- Lower right teeth were broken in his jaw
CCWS has reported numerous – as many as one dozen – cases similar to this in the last year: wild animals caught in unattended and improperly installed traps dragging their tortured bodies, hoping to somehow find freedom.
Additionally, the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has monitored at least 16 other cases in the same one-year period of domestic pets being caught, tortured and killed in leg-hold, Conibear or snare traps set in urban environments.
“It is time for the government of British Columbia to recognize the lack of accountability and integrity in the trapping business,” stated Lesley Fox, Executive Director for The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. “These traps are being set in areas that are known to be frequented by families – including small children and pets – with no signage or warnings. These traps are not being monitored or set as required by law. These traps are causing incredible suffering daily and there is no justifiable excuse for allowing it to continue.”
Despite the vast increase in non-target species trapping, including family pets, and the apparent lack of control over trappers as illustrated by these recent events, the government of British Columbia has shown no sign that they have an interest in protecting its residents – be they wildlife, domestic pets or humans.
“Trapping regulations in British Columbia need to be overhauled,” added Fox. “We are asking the BC government to make it mandatory for trappers to have I.D. tags on their traps and to post warning signs. We would also like to see a ban on all urban trapping and trapping in parks. Ideally, all bodygripping traps would be outlawed.”