One Recreationalist, Three Incidents!

From: Renate Wackerbauer
In response to Alaska Dispatch Article February 3, 2015
Traps or snares that injure, kill off-leash pets concern Mat-Su dog owners

“……dogs on leashes or in harness are caught frequently in traps too!!! I had just 3 such experiences over the last few years.

1. My dog got caught in a wolf trap, 1-3 inches next to my foot (depending on where exactly I would have set down my foot). I stood next to the dog as she bounced into the air, full of pain, snapping at the trap to get her leg out, only to rip off her teeth on one side of her jaw – all this within a second or two. I had to leave my dog behind to get help to open the trap with heavy duty levers. Luckily I ran into an experienced and helpful trapper who was on his way back to town. “I apologize in the name of all the trappers … such a trap should never be in such a location” were his words. And all this happened one weekend before the northern skiing club had their annual “stew in the slough” event with kids mushing exactly at this location !! My dog would have gotten into this trap even if I would have held her on the collar instead of a leash.

2. I was watching my dog entering the snare and its tightening up. The snare was a bit further than one arm length. I was lucky that I recognized it before the dog started to bounce. Even on a leash there can be a serious injury, since some dogs act quick and bounce heavily in a first response to a tightening snare.

3. This year we found an injured dog in a snare, 2 yards from a groomed ski trail, so clearly within the length of a retractable leash. (dog could be saved)

I do also let my dogs run off leash in certain areas, but my experience is only that they get into traps either very close to the trail, or within 30 feet of a trail (the other two times when they were caught in a snare off leash). So, not permitting traps within 30 (or ideally 100) feet off trails would eliminate lots of incidents, if my 5 trap experiences are representative. Also most free running dogs that I meet on our walks stay within such distances to their owner, i.e. do not really run off into the wild !!”