posted Mar 4, 2015, 10:38 AM by Scott Slocum
updated Feb 27, 2017, 12:15 PM
This year's body-gripping trapping-regulation bill to protect dogs is SF 1325
/ HF 1655
First hearing: MN Senate Fish & Wildlife Subcommittee, 3/9/2015.
Second hearing: MN Senate Environment & Energy Committee, 3/17/2015.
What the bill would do:
The bill would set the following trapping regulations:
1) Restrict, as follows, the uses of medium to large-size body-gripping traps (i.e. between 5-1/2 inches and 7-1/2 inches, in other words larger than Duke #160 and smaller than a #280) on public and private lands and waters:
a) completely submerged in water; or
b) in an elevated enclosure with a top opening at least 4 feet above ground or snowpack, sized 50 sq. in. or less, with a trap recess 12-inches or more from the opening; or
c) in an enclosure with a top or side opening 25 sq. in. or less and a trap recess 12-inches or more from the opening; or
d) in an unbaited enclosure with an opening no more than 4 inches above ground and a trap recess 18-inches or more from the opening, at least 20 feet from bait; or
e) at least 5 feet above the ground.
2) Require written permission to set traps or snares on private property.
3) Require the reporting of incidental catches of pets and companion animals in traps.
4) Revoke a trapper's license for killing a pet or companion animal in an illegally-set body-gripping trap or snare.
Paper models to illustrate the specified trap enclosures, a 2'4" tall dog, and a 5'6" tall trapper. Scale: 2 inches = 1 foot..
What the bill would not do:
- Would not provide for MN DNR rulemaking to authorize other dog-proof body-gripping trapping methods.
- Would not protect dogs from lethal snaring (would not require cable restraints on land).
Legal challenges (numbered as above):
- 1a) Although completely-submerged watersets work well in many situations, there are technical problems in other situations.
- 1b, 1c, 1d) Bobcat trappers would no longer be able to use body-gripping traps.
- 1d) Raccoon trappers would no longer be able to use "blind" (see-through) sets.
- 1b, 1d) Some trappers don't want to use (or aren't able to set) traps above ground. Most don't like the added visibility.
- 2) It would be a logistical challenge for large, non-resident landowners (e.g. logging and paper companies) to deliver written permission to trappers.
- 3) As drafted (although not as intended), the reporting requirement is overly broad; it could conceivably apply to cases in which people caught pet rats in rat traps.
- 4) (no specific legal challenge).
Possible resolutions of the legal changes (numbered as above):
- 1a) Trappers who currently use half-submerged #220 body-gripping traps would switch to other methods including cage traps and snares. Note: this bill would not require completely-submerged #280s and #330s.
- 1b, 1c, 1d) Bobcat trappers who currently use body-gripping traps would switch to other methods including foothold traps, cage traps, and snares (all of these methods are already in use by successful trappers).
- 1d) Raccoon trappers would switch to other methods including dog-proof raccoon traps, other foothold traps, cage traps, and snares (all of these methods are already in use by successful trappers).
- 1b, 1d) There are many alternatives to setting traps above ground. In areas where visibility is not a concern, traps above ground are used successfully to trap climbing furbearers including raccoons, fisher, and marten. On private lands and remote public lands, the increased visibility of traps above ground can be an advantage: it can be quicker to check the traps from the road.
- 2) Large, non-resident landowners would solve the logistical challenge by publishing written permission for public trapping. For example, in a letter like this from UPM Blandin Forestry.
- 3) If the reporting requirement is overly-broad, it could easily be focused by, for example, requiring reporting only for traps with jaw spreads 4 inches or larger, and for snares.
- Update 3/19/2015: the language was focused by the MN Senate Judiciary Committee by changing it from "pet or companion animal" to "dog or collared animal." The language remains, overly broad, however, for animal-control operators who are regularly hired to catch dogs and collared animals in cage traps. Still an unfortunate, unintended feature of the bill.
- 4) (no specific legal challenge).
(not included in the bill):
horizontally about 90-degrees from the direction of the trap strike.
facing into to the direction of the trap strike, from directly in
the point on the front of the enclosure that's farthest from the
facing in the direction of the trap strike, from behind.
opening size: area of the opening, measured from a two-dimensional
perspective directly facing the opening.
Authors and co-authors:
Authors: Minnesota Senator John A. Hoffman and Representative Peter Fischer.
Senate Coauthors: Minnesota Senators John Marty, Charles W. Wiger, Patricia Torres Ray, and Alice M. Johnson.
House Coauthors: Minnesota Representative Alice Hausman.