Save Your Dog - Ban Body Grip Traps on Public Lands
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I run and train my dogs on both private and public land. Only on public land do I need to worry about my dogs getting caught in a body-gripping trap (Conibear trap) and dying in less than 90 seconds.
Every year, family pets and valuable hunting dogs are killed in these traps, which are nearly impossible for anyone to release in time to save their dog. These are not simple foot-hold traps with a simple release mechanism most people can easily trigger; these traps violently compress the animal's throat and cause suffocation within 1-2 minutes, and are so strong that a special 2-ft long "pliers" must be used to set the trap in an open position. This same tool must be used to release the animal.
I've read many accounts online by adult men who've been unable to release their dogs and had to watch, helplessly, as their dog died. I researched the recommended techniques to release my dog and have been unable to perform the release in under 5-8 minutes (I bought a medium sized trap to practice on). Not only am I not strong enough to compress the springs using any of the techniques I found, I can't imagine being able to do this while my 60 pound dog is flailing around, choking to death. A local trapping supply store employee expressed his belief that these traps should not be allowed on land accessible to the general public. Run a search with the terms "dogs killed conibear" and you will be appalled at what you read.
Traps on public land make the area a booby-trapped disaster for people with dogs using the land in a legal and permitted way (hunting, hiking, etc.). With reluctance, I can accept snares and foot-hold traps, and have taught myself how to release my dog from one (my dog was caught in a foot-hold trap last year and I was able to release him with no injury); the Conibear, however, should not be allowed except on private land with the consent of the landowner. It's just too dangerous and too indiscriminate a killer. Click here to read just one newspaper story.
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