MN Rep. Ward's Good Bill to Protect Dogs from Body-Gripping Traps

posted Apr 4, 2012, 1:11 PM by Scott Slocum   [ updated Mar 2, 2019, 10:18 AM ]
2013-2014 Biennium

Representative John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) with co-authors Mark Uglem (R-Champlin), Ron Erhardt (DFL-Edina), Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) , Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), JoAnn Ward (DFL-Woodbury), Jason Isaacson (DFL-Shoreview), Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood), Mark Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley), and Yvonne Selcer (DFL-Minnetonka) have re-introduced last year's body-gripping trapping bill to protect dogs from unnecessarily death in body-gripping traps that are set for wildlife.

The 2013 bill is identified as HF 456: Body-gripping trap restrictions modified. The word "modified" refers to its repeal of the non-functional legislation that was put in its place last year.

  MN Rep. John Ward   MN Rep. Mark Uglem   MN Rep. Ron Erhardt   MN Rep. Kathy Lohmer   MN Rep. Jerry Newton
  MN Rep. JoAnn Ward   MN Rep. Jason Isaacson   MN Rep. Peter Fischer   MN Rep. Mike Freiberg   MN Rep. Yvonne Selcer

From left to right, Minnesota Representatives and co-authors
John Ward, Mark Uglem, Ron Erhardt, Kathy Lohmer, Jerry Newton,
JoAnn Ward, Jason Isaacson, Peter Fischer, Mike Freiberg, and Yvonne Selcer.

See also: Wiger's Good Bill.

2011-2012 Biennium

4/3/2012: Representative John Ward (DFL-Brainerd) stood up to protect Minnesota dogs from unnecessarily death in body-gripping traps that are set for wildlife.

Representative John Ward (DFL-Brainerd).
MN Representative Mindy Greiling

Rep. Ward stood during the MN House floor debate of the 2012 Game & Fish Bill (HF 2171) to propose an amendment co-authored by Representative Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville).

A month earlier, Ward's own dog-safe legislation (HF 2243 to regulate the use of body-gripping traps) had been silenced in committee and replaced by a non-functional bill. Yesterday, Ward spoke against that non-functional bill (now Section 64 of HF 2171), and offered his amendment 398 to improve it.

The amendment didn't pass (the vote was Yea: 55, Nay: 76). The Committee had its votes in line, and anyone who voted "Yea" (including our White Bear area Representative Carol McFarlane) was exercising their own, open hearts and minds. Thanks for each of those courageous "yea" votes.

Of course, Representative Ward's amendment and discussion didn't sit well with the Committee authors.

In his defensive response, Representative Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) complained that the issue had been seen "numerous times" on the news, and pled that the Environment & Natural Resources Committee "did not ignore this issue!" He tried to offer assurances that concessions had been made as the Game & Fish Bill went "through the process." He said that amendments like Representative Ward's shouldn't be done on the fly, on the floor: that they need to be worked through the process. He neglected to offer any details of that process, which had, in fact, included only a comfortable circle of Committee Members, Committee Chair, and select testimony. Select testimony apparently did not include signers nor representatives of the petitions for Safe Public Lands, Banning Unnecessary & Unsafe Trapping, or Protection from Trapping in White Bear, MN.

In his defensive response, Representative Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) said that sometimes these things get too emotional, so it's hard to get people together to talk about them, so he did the best he could and came up with the compromise legislation (that's now in the Game & Fish Bill). Again, without any detail, he lashed out against unnamed opponents by charging that they "had not been honest." Apparently, he was referring to critics (perhaps including and its blog entries McNamara's typo through Empty fixes) who had pointed out an obvious error in his legislation that would have allowed new uses of the largest body-gripping traps on land (they're currently allowed only in the water). He neglected to mention that his critics had proven to be correct and that his error had recently been corrected.

In both defensive responses, the Committee Member and the Committee Chair refused to acknowledge that their critics (including and thousands of petition signers and dog owners remain unsatisfied by the non-functional legislation and continue to call for the popular, dog-safe legislation (HF 2243 / SF 1736).

This debate can be viewed online beginning at 05:20:50 (five hours, twenty minutes, and fifty seconds into the video). If the link here doesn't work, the video can be found by searching the House Audio and Video Archives for "HF2171" in the "current biennium." Hint: the "non-frames" version on a Windows computer opens in a separate video-player window. One such video player, Windows Media Player, shows a time code that can be used to "fast forward" to the desired portion of the debate. The "enhanced version" opens on a web page without a time code.

Another part of this debate (beginning at 05:09:02) also shed light on the "legislative process" ala Hackbarth. Representative Kerry Gauthier (DFL-Duluth) asked Rep. Hackbarth whether the Anishinabe Tribal Governments or Elders had been consulted as part of the legislative process of developing Minnesota's new wolf hunting season. Hackbarth replied no--the Tribal Elders had not been consulted. Again defensive, Rep. Hackbarth replied that "they had perfect opportunity to come forward and speak to the issue." Rep. Gauthier pointed out that "sometimes we need to go the extra step" to invite input on issues like this. For more on Native-American (Anishinabe, Ojibway,  Chippewa) treaty rights regarding wolves, see James Gorman's article Before Wolves May Be Hunted, New York Times, 3/12/2012.

Journal of the House - 99th Day - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - pp. 8253-8254.

Ward and Greiling moved to amend H. F. No. 2171, the fourth engrossment, as amended, as follows:

Page 29, delete section 64 and insert:

"Sec. 64.  [97B.903] USE OF BODY-GRIPPING TRAPS.

Subdivision 1.  Placement of traps.  (a) On land or ice on public land, a person may not set place or operate, except as a water set, a body-gripping or "conibear" type trap that has a maximum jaw opening, when set, greater than six and one-half inches and less than seven and one-half inches measured from the inside edges of the body-gripping portions of the jaws unless:

(1) the trap is elevated at least four feet above the surface;

(2) the trap is in an enclosure with any opening no greater than 50 square inches with the trap trigger recessed seven inches from any opening;

(3) the trap is in an enclosure with only one entrance, directly facing the ground with the entrance no more than six inches from the surface and the trap trigger is recessed four inches from the opening; or

(4) the maximum jaw opening, when set, is no more than six and one-half inches as measured from the inside edges of the body-gripping portions of the jaws and no part of the body-gripping surface is more than eight inches above the trail surface and no bait, lure or other attractant is placed within 100 feet of the trap.

Subd. 2.  Right-of-way.  (a) A person may not set, place, or operate any body-gripping trap with a maximum jaw opening, when set no greater than five and one-half inches as measured from the inside edges of the body-gripping portions of the jaws, in the road right-of-way within 500 feet of a building occupied by a human or livestock without written permission of the occupant or landowner, except as a completely submerged waterset.

(b) A person may not set, place, or operate in the road right-of-way a body-gripping or "conibear" type trap that has a maximum jaw opening, when set, of greater than five and one-half inches when measured from the inside edges of the jaws in or within three feet of the opening of a six-foot wide or smaller culvert, except as a completely submerged waterset."

Voting on MN Rep. John Ward's body-gripping trapping amendment to the Game & Fish Bill, 4/3/2012.
Minnesota House of Representatives, Saint Paul, MN, USA.
The amendment did not pass on a vote of 76 no, 55 yes. 

vote firstName lastName district party home
No Dan Fabian 01A R Roseau
No Debra Kiel 01B R Crookston
No Kent Eken 02A D Twin Valley
No David Hancock 02B R Bemidji
No Tom Anzelc 03A D Balsam Township
No Carolyn McElfatrick 03B R Deer River
Yes John Persell 04A D Bemidji
Yes Larry Howes 04B R Walker
No Tom Rukavina 05A D Virginia
Yes Carly Melin 05B D Hibbing
No David Dill 06A D Crane Lake
Yes Mary Murphy 06B D Hermantown
Yes Thomas Huntley 07A D Duluth
Yes Kerry Gauthier 07B D Duluth
Yes Bill Hilty 08A D Finlayson
No Roger Crawford 08B R Mora
No Morrie Lanning 09A R Moorhead
No Paul Marquart 09B D Dilworth
No Bud Nornes 10A R Fergus Falls
No Mark Murdock 10B R Ottertail
No Torrey Westrom 11A R Elbow Lake
No Mary Franson 11B R Alexandria
Yes John Ward 12A D Brainerd
No Mike LeMieur 12B R Little Falls
No Paul Anderson 13A R Starbuck
No Bruce Vogel 13B R Willmar
No Tim O'Driscoll 14A R Sartell
Yes Larry Hosch 14B D Saint Joseph
No Steve Gottwalt 15A R Saint Cloud
No King Banaian 15B R Saint Cloud
No Sondra Erickson 16A R Princeton
No Mary Kiffmeyer 16B R Big Lake
No Kurt Daudt 17A R Crown
No Bob Barrett 17B R Lindstrom
No Ron Shimanski 18A R Silver Lake
No Dean Urdahl 18B R Grove City
No Bruce Anderson 19A R Buffalo
No Joe McDonald 19B R Delano
Yes Andrew Falk 20A D Murdock
No Lyle Koenen 20B D Clara City
No Chris Swedzinski 21A R Ghent
No Paul Torkelson 21B R Nelson Township
No Joe Schomacker 22A R Luverne
No Rod Hamilton 22B R Mountain Lake
Yes Terry Morrow 23A D Saint Peter
Yes Kathy Brynaert 23B D Mankato
No Bob Gunther 24A R Fairmont
No Tony Cornish 24B R Vernon Center
No Glenn Gruenhagen 25A R Glencoe
No Kelby Woodard 25B R Belle Plaine
Yes Kory Kath 26A D Owatonna
Yes Patti Fritz 26B D Faribault
No Rich Murray 27A R Albert Lea
Yes Jeanne Poppe 27B D Austin
No Tim Kelly 28A R Red Wing
No Steve Drazkowski 28B R Mazeppa
No Duane Quam 29A R Byron
Yes Kim Norton 29B D Rochester
Yes Tina Liebling 30A D Rochester
No Mike Benson 30B R Rochester
No Gene Pelowski Jr. 31A D Winona
No Greg Davids 31B R Preston
No Joyce Peppin 32A R Rogers
No Kurt Zellers 32B R Maple Grove
No Steve Smith 33A R Mound
No Connie Doepke 33B R Orono
No Ernie Leidiger 34A R Mayer
No Joe Hoppe 34B R Chaska
No Michael Beard 35A R Shakopee
No Mark Buesgens 35B R Savage
Yes Mary Liz Holberg 36A R Lakeville
No Pat Garofalo 36B R Farmington
No Tara Mack 37A R Apple Valley
No Kurt Bills 37B R Rosemount
No Diane Anderson 38A R Eagan
No Doug Wardlow 38B R Eagan
Yes Rick Hansen 39A D South Saint Paul
DNV Joe Atkins 39B D South Saint Paul
No Pam Myhra 40A R Albert Lea
Yes Ann Lenczewski 40B D Bloomington
No Keith Downey 41A R Edina
No Pat Mazorol 41B R Bloomington
No Kirk Stensrud 42A R Eden Prairie
No Jenifer Loon 42B R Eden Prairie
No Sarah Anderson 43A R Plymouth
Yes John Benson 43B D Minnetonka
Yes Steve Simon 44A D Saint Louis Park
Yes Ryan Winkler 44B D Golden Valley
Yes Sandra Peterson 45A D New Hope
Yes Lyndon Carlson Sr. 45B D Crystal
Yes Michael V. Nelson 46A D Brooklyn Park
DNV Debra Hilstrom 46B D Brooklyn Center
Yes Denise Dittrich 47A D Champlin
Yes Melissa Hortman 47B D Brooklyn Park
No Tom Hackbarth 48A R Cedar
No Jim Abeler 48B R Anoka
No Peggy Scott 49A R Andover
No Branden Petersen 49B R Andover
Yes Carolyn Laine 50A D Columbia Heights
Yes Kate Knuth 50B D New Brighton
No Tim Sanders 51A R Blaine
Yes Tom Tillberry 51B D Fridley
No Bob Dettmer 52A R Forest Lake
No Matt Dean 52B R Dellwood
No Linda Runbeck 53A R Circle Pines
Yes Carol McFarlane 53B R White Bear Lake
DNV Mindy Greiling 54A D Roseville
Yes Bev Scalze 54B D Little Canada
Yes Leon Lillie 55A D North Saint Paul
Yes Nora Slawik 55B D Maplewood
No Kathy Lohmer 56A R Lake Elmo
No Andrea Kieffer 56B R Woodbury
No John Kriesel 57A R Cottage Grove
No Denny McNamara 57B R Hastings
Yes Joe Mullery 58A D Minneapolis
Yes Bobby Joe Champion 58B D Minneapolis
Yes Diane Loeffler 59A D Minneapolis
Yes Phyllis Kahn 59B D Minneapolis
Yes Marion Greene 60A D Minneapolis
Yes Frank Hornstein 60B D Minneapolis
Yes Karen Clark 61A D Minneapolis
Yes Susan Allen 61B D Minneapolis
Yes Jim Davnie 62A D Minneapolis
Yes Jean Wagenius 62B D Minneapolis
Yes Paul Thissen 63A D Minneapolis
Yes Linda Slocum 63B D Richfield
Yes Erin Murphy 64A D Saint Paul
Yes Michael Paymar 64B D Saint Paul
Yes Rena Moran 65A D Saint Paul
Yes Carlos Mariani 65B D Saint Paul
Yes John Lesch 66A D Saint Paul
Yes Alice Hausman 66B D Saint Paul
Yes Tim Mahoney 67A D Saint Paul
Yes Sheldon Johnson 67B D Saint Paul