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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Wildlife officials, law enforcement urging caution after dog gets leg caught in trap

Wildlife officials, law enforcement urging caution after dog gets leg caught in trap

Police say trap had no identifying markings as required 

WALLOWA — Oregon State Police are continuing an investigation of a dog caught in a trap in the city of Wallowa earlier this month. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, trapping is illegal in any municipality.

OSP Trooper Brian Miller said the trap had no identifying mark and was placed on private property along Wallowa’s truck route. A dog and its owner were on a walk along the route when the dog became caught in the leg-hold trap. The dog’s owner, Becky Robinson, said it took several people to release the trap from the dog’s foot. 

Miller said the trap had no identification on it as required by law.

Mike Hanson, assistant district biologist in Enterprise, said that all traps have to have some sort of identification. 

“A brand number is issued when you get a trapping license,” Hanson said.

Every year, dogs accidently get into traps set for furbearers during the state’s legal trapping season, officials said. Traps range from neck snares to leg holds to conibears, which can kill an animal instantly.

Though it is illegal to trap in a city’s limits, trapping is legal on private land with permission and on public land managed by the U.S. Forest Service. There are regulations that limit the distance a trap can be set no closer than 50 feet from a trail, 300 feet from trailheads, campgrounds and picnic areas but Hanson said trapping along roads is a gray area.

The Lostine River Road is a popular place for trappers to set baited traps along the road. The day after Robinson’s dog was caught in a trap in Wallowa, a skier’s dog was also caught in a legally set leghold trap.

Keeping dogs out of traps

During trapping season it is best that dog owners take precautions when walking along trails and roads and keep dogs on a leash or in sight and under voice command, officials said. Each winter, the ODFW releases information to protect dogs from traps.

• Be aware of where and when trapping occurs. Most trapping seasons opened Nov. 15 or Dec. 1 and end Feb. 28 or March 31. A few seasons are open the entire year, but winter is the most popular time to trap.

• Carry wire cutter and rope and know how to use them to release dogs from a trap.

• Traps set for coyotes, bobcats and raccoons are the types of sets most likely to inadvertently capture a dog. 

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