Home‎ > ‎Trapping‎ > ‎Trapping FAQ‎ > ‎

Who records and tracks incidents of dogs killed or injured by traps?

posted Apr 23, 2012, 12:54 PM by Scott Slocum   [ updated Feb 14, 2013, 2:24 PM ]
A few organizations keep records of dogs that are killed or injured by traps, but none of them are complete.

Some of us try to make lists, or to spread the word about non-target trapping incidents because we want them to be known and avoided in the future. Most of us just talk with people, the news media, our representatives and our local officials. They remember for a while, but they only know about the incidents they've personally heard about.

There's a good non-target trapping incident-reporting system at Born Free USA, but not many people know about it, and not everyone is willing to use it. For example, although hunting dogs might be the largest group of dogs that are killed or injured by body-gripping traps, many hunters won't use the Born Free USA system because they don't want to help an "anti" organization.

Although you would expect the following organizations to record and track non-target trapping incidents, they've been reluctant to do so.

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR)
    • For example, the MN DNR Wildlife Section Chief Dennis Simon says that while he has an interest in an incidental-capture system, he cautions that it might not be possible given "staffing and work load considerations with yet another unfunded activity with systemic staff shortages and a sharp move toward small state government."
  • 1/15/2013 update: the MN DNR began to keep track of the reports they received of dogs killed or injured by traps during the 2012/2013 hunting and trapping seasons (Doug Smith, Star Tribune, 1/15/2013, "Number of dogs killed by traps concerns owners"). The count of reported incidents was 9 dogs dead and 8 dogs injured in about two months. A MN DNR spokesman said that he "wouldn't want to draw any conclusions" from those numbers, but of course dog owners and legislators concluded that those numbers were enough to show that there was a problem to be solved. Despite requests from the public (and no doubt from the State Legislature), the MN DNR had been reluctant to keep count; as late as 10/20/2012 (Dave Orrick, Pioneer Press, 10/20/2012, "Will Minnesota's new trapping rules mean fewer dog deaths?"), the MN DNR spokesman had said that there were "no plans to create a formal tracking system." That was in contrast to the Wisconsin DNR, which has been tracking dog-trapping incidents and providing that information to policy makers since 1997.
  • MN DNR Conservation Officers (MN DNR CO).
    • For example, my CO didn't even report my dog's 1/26/2012 death in her weekly reports:
      • 1/27/2012: CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) assisted Anoka County Water Patrol on Sunday with a truck that broke through the ice on Peltier Lake. The occupant and his dog were able to get out safely. She also worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes and handled calls about nuisance coyotes.
      • 2/3/2012: CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) worked fishing and ATV enforcement on area lakes. She handled a call about a fish house abandoned in an individual's driveway in White Bear Lake and handled various TIP calls. CO Kruse also assisted Ramsey County Water Patrol with a vehicle through the ice on Bald Eagle Lake, and issued a car-kill deer permit in Oakdale.
  • Minnesota Trappers Association (MTA).
    • For example, "expert" testimony as part of Carlson's Typo was very confident, but equally incorrect.

Some individuals and organizations benefit from voters' ignorance of problems with trapping. Although the MN DNR and the MTA don't actually have good statistics, they feel free to express their opinions to the media as if they do (for instance, see their criticisms of dog-safe Minnesota legislation).