Contact your MN Legislators

Step 1: Find your Minnesota Legislators:

http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/

Step 2: Call or write. Here's a sample letter to get you started:

Dear Policy Maker:

As your constituent I'm asking you to vote for the commonsense trapping regulations outlined in MN Senate bill SF 1325 and MN House bill HF 1655 to protect our dogs from lethal body grip traps and snares. It isn't necessary to kill dogs in order to trap but current regulations are responsible for killing 7 more dogs this season.

Many loved and valuable dogs are being killed each year because of inadequate trapping laws. We need to get them 5 feet above ground, or in dog-proof boxes, or completely submerged in water. Thousands of responsible trappers in Minnesota and other states have proven that they can effectively use body grip traps without killing dogs. Many states, including Wisconsin, require these methods.  It's only a small minority of MN trappers who are causing this problem, but they won't improve until the law is changed.

Below is a photo of Bronco, a 7 year-old golden lab who was killed on 11/1/2014 while grouse hunting with his owner in Schoolcraft Game Refuge. Bronco could not be saved, even using the advertised method of saving a dog using a belt. The dog-death count is rising. In Nov-Dec 2014, the MN DNR has reported 6 dogs dead in body-grip traps (plus one that was rescued and revived using CPR).

Another dog named Kobe was caught in a body grip trap for several days.  He must have been caught "wrong" because he survived; but because of extensive injuries to his eyes and face, both of his infected eyes had to be surgically removed, and he may lose the hearing in one ear.  This is the direct result of the danger of these body grip traps on the ground, and the 3-day grace period trappers have to check these traps.  It's not uncommon to find live animals caught by the hips in body grip traps.  Wisconsin requires body grip traps to be checked daily, even if they are elevated, to prevent poorly caught animals from suffering in the trap for so long. 

These are the dogs we know about, but few trappers will report killing a dog unless it's required by the state.  The 3-day grace period for body grips is the number one reason why some MN bobcat trappers use them for bobcats.  Few trappers in other states use body grip traps for bobcats.  Body grip traps are less effective for bobcat than foothold traps, but footholds have to be checked daily. The result is more body grip traps and more danger for dogs.

A dog was killed near Pequot Lakes on opening day of bobcat season.  She had just given birth to a litter of 8 puppies 2 weeks before. She was killed by a body grip trap, baited with meat, and set on the ground near her home.  The trap that killed her was 1 inch from being a legal set and no one believes that last inch would have protected her.  Her picture is below.  The same trapper returned to the area and set more traps after being ticketed.  His fine was $100 for setting an illegal trap.  He wasn't ticketed for killing this families dog because it's not illegal to kill someone's dog in a body grip trap.  SF 1325 and HF 1655 would add penalties for killing a dog in an illegal body grip trap set.  The trapping lobby opposes the penalty.

There was a legislative effort to fix this problem in 2012, but it was ineffective. The first dog was killed just six hours after the start of the 2012 trapping season. His name was Schatzi and he belonged to 6 yr. old Ella, who was walking him when he was killed.

Dogs play an important role in our families, and the risk of losing them in body grip traps or lethal snares is preventing us from enjoying the outdoors. Hunters have stopped hunting, and dog owners are afraid to walk their dogs. It's hurting our small-town economies too.  Some hunters are no longer taking their hunting trips to hunt pheasant or grouse in MN.  That means they are no longer staying in MN resorts or motels, and no longer eating at small cafes.  Americans spend $56 billion on our dogs each year. It’s not fair that we have to risk their lives, when proven safe and effective alternative trapping methods are readily available. 

No state that has protected dogs from body grip traps with sensible regulation has shown any reduction in fur harvest, so why can't we do this in MN?

We got our first legislative hearing in the MN Senate on 3/9/2015. We've been trying to get that hearing since 2012, and in the meantime, innocent dogs were killed, and their owners were left grief-stricken. We can't afford to wait any longer. This has got to be the year!

Thank you for considering my letter. I will be following this important issue at the Capitol.

Sincerely,

Your constituent


Photo of Mark Johnson's dog Bronco, killed by a #330 body grip trap in Schoolcraft Game Refuge on 11/1/2014.

Bronco's story on WCCO TV News: "Hunter Asks For More Trapping Regulations After Dog Dies In Conibear." By John Lauritsen, 12/8/2014, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/12/18/hunter-asks-for-more-trapping-regulations-after-dog-dies-in-conibear/


The dog Bronco dead in a #330 body grip trap in Schoolcraft Game Refuge, 11/1/2014.
Photo of Lily killed in a body grip set near her home.


Her story in Star Tribune article in SF 1325.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/296662541.html Star Tribune article on SF 1325

Lily

Schatzi's story in the Pioneer Press: "Minnesota: weekend dog death highlights dangers of small traps, too." By Dave Orrick, 10/25/2012, http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_21854559/weekend-dog-death-highlights-dangers-small-traps-too

Some of the other news listed on the Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN website: Media Coverage.

Here's some photos of Kobe.