Contact Your Legislators
Make A Difference
The new legislative session starts February 11, 2020. It’s so important to contact your legislators BEFORE the hectic session starts and other bills consume all of their time. If you don't know who your rep is, you can find them by clicking the button below. Please ask them to sign on as co-signers of the bill, too. The more we have, the better.
Please ask them to support bill numbers HF 2308 (House bill) and SF 2359 (Senate bill). We are so grateful to our Senate authors Chris Eaton, State Senator Karla Bigham, John Marty, and our House author Rep. Peter Fischer.
Sample Letter Text
You can use the text and images from the gallery below as a start. Be sure to include both the House and Senate bill numbers. Of note, Senator Carrie Ruud and Representative John Persell are the gate keepers of the legislation. Please include them in your letters, too.
Dear Policy Maker:
As your constituent I'm asking you to vote for the commonsense trapping regulations outlined in MN Senate bill SF 2359 and MN House bill HF 2308 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 November 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. At the end of 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 but 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 family's dog because it's not illegal to kill someone's dog in a body grip trap. SF 2359 and HF 2308 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 year 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 March, 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.
Caution: Graphic Images Below
Below are graphic images of how a body grip trap injures and kills dogs. Some of the images are of dead dogs. Please proceed with caution.