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Body grip trap fact sheet

The following fact sheet supports modifying current trapping regulations to prevent killing dogs.

 Lethal Trapping and Snaring Restrictions Bill.

ISSUE:  Trappers are inadvertently killing our dogs with LETHAL body grip traps and snares that are designed to kill captured animals.  MN law allows LETHAL body grip traps and snares to be set on the ground where dogs can find them and be killed.  Body grip traps are often baited with meat like grouse parts, or beaver or are placed on animal trails.  In 2012 at least 20 MN dogs, many worth thousands of dollars, were killed causing much expense, heartache and grief to their owners and families.

All attempts to get trapping associations and the DNR to support changes to trapping regulations to protect dogs have been ignored.

MN allows body grip traps to be placed virtually anywhere on public or private land.  Dogs have been killed in legally set body grip traps next to hunting/hiking trails, driveway culverts, road ditches, WMA’s, public and private property.  It isn’t possible to predict where your dog will find a trap making it impossible to protect your dog. 

There are effective alternative methods for trapping. It is not necessary to set these lethal traps and snares on the ground where dogs can be killed.  Why do MN trapping regulations allow this to happen?

REGULATIONS IN OTHER STATES PROTECT DOGS

Fifteen states (WI, CT, ME, MD, MI, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, and UT) require trappers to set body grip traps elevated above the ground or in the water to protect dogs.  Ten other states (AL, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, MA, OK, WA, and WV) prohibit the use of body grip traps large enough to kill dogs on land.  Tens of thousands of trappers in those 25 states successfully use body grip traps set off the ground or use non-lethal foothold traps that allow the release of non-target catches. 

Nine states (IN, MI, MO, NJ, ND, OH, PA, WV, and WI) allow non-lethal cable restraint snares.  Eighteen other states don’t allow any snares for land animals.  Trappers in those 27 states have adapted and it has not affected fur harvest.

JUST KILLING FEWER DOGS IS NOT THE ANSWER

MN dog owners don’t want their dogs killed in body grip traps and snares.  It isn’t necessary to kill dogs while trapping furbearers.  MN trapping regulations need to change to protect dogs.

 DOG SAFE ALTERNATIVES FOR TRAPPING

There are effective alternative trapping methods that don’t endanger dogs.  However, MN regulations fail to require these methods, and in some cases, actually encourage the use of trapping methods lethal to dogs.  Some dog safe methods are featured in Trapping Best Management Practices and in the MN Trappers Association trapping manual. However, dog safe methods are not required by MN law, so dogs continue to die in traps.

Snares can be of the type called “cable restraints” They have a relaxing lock that allows a dog to continue breathing once it stops fighting the snare.  A locking snare can kill a dog even if it sits quietly if the dog is caught while running or if it fought the snare.

 Dog proof raccoon traps are available that eliminate the chance of  killing dogs.  They are faster, lighter, and easier to set. 

WHY SOME TRAPPERS PREFER BODY GRIP TRAPS ON LAND

Some trappers choose body grip traps because they are a low skill set. Also, for some reason, DNR regulations encourage trappers to use them by allowing trappers to only have to check them every third day.  Many trappers prefer more effective foothold traps for bobcat, but don’t use them because they must be checked daily.

LAND OWNERSHIP AND TRAPPING REGULATIONS

Trapping regulations are the same on public and private land for all foothold traps and all but one of the body grip traps.  In 2012 an exception was made for one size of body grip trap on private property.  That was a mistake. Dogs have been lured onto private property by baited body grip traps and killed.  Trappers don’t need that special exemption for body grip traps and law enforcement doesn’t need the complication. 

MN land ownership is a patchwork and many times it’s impossible to know exactly where the property lines are even if signs are placed according to law.  Property boundaries only need to be posted every 500’ in the woods.  It’s nearly impossible to see signs that far apart in many types of forest. Even well-trained dogs have been lured to baited traps placed on private property and killed before the owner even realized the dog was on private land. 

MN NEEDS THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION FOR DOG SAFE METHODS OF TRAPPING

  1. Body grip traps from 5” and up must be placed a minimum of 5’ above the ground or snowpack, or submerged in water.

  2. Body grip traps up to and including 7” may be used in boxes securely fastened to trees or fence posts with the opening facing upward and a minimum of 4’ above the ground with the trap recessed down into the box a minimum of 12”.

  3. Body grip traps may be used on the ground if placed in a box that excludes dogs.

  4. Non-relaxing, spring-powered, or spring-assisted snares must be completely submerged in water. Non-lethal cable restraints (CR) are allowed on land. No “**entanglements**” larger than ½” diameter within reach of the CR are allowed.

  5. Dog proof coon traps are required to have “pull only” triggers and cannot be baited with meat or fish products. (This prevents catching dogs by the tongue.)

**entanglements** are trees, stumps and other objects around which an animal in a cable restraint could tangle the cable and choke itself.

Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN logo shows an elevated body-gripping trap set safely above the reach of a dog.