Randy

There are few as wretched as senseless suffering, whether in people or animals, knowing that that suffering could and should have been avoided. On the evening of February 23, I put my dog outside to attend to business before heading to bed for the evening. My dog, a two year old black lab, is a PTSD service dog in training. We have been through a lot and have an incredible bond. Much to my dismay, and out of character for him, he did not return when I called him inside shortly thereafter, nor did he return when I proceeded to call him throughout that long night which I spent in frustration, incredibly worried, knowing he simply wouldn’t run away. The next morning, after a sleepless night, he returned, struggling and limping on three legs, with his left front paw tightly bound in a snare. It was swollen, deeply indented and he was shaking with pain. The snare  was immediately cut loose but he couldn’t put any weight on it at all and I was fearful that he might have broken bones in his paw or ankle due to the extreme angle of the snare on his paw and the trauma and  swelling of tissue. While I was of course relieved that he was home, I was concerned, worried and fearful, not knowing how I could possibly pay for a veterinarian but knowing that he was urgently in need of veterinary care. Broken bones in his paw or joint could result in an early end to his career as a service dog which is  vigorous and demanding physically. For those who do not know, the lengthy process of matching an individual to a service dog is very challenging, very lengthy and very costly. This was to put it mildly a major life impacting issue and living on ten acres of private property on a dead end road, it simply should never have happened.  He wanted desperately to get to his bed in my bedroom, but was in terrible pain, shock and trembling badly. I gave him a pain pill hoping I would be able to ascertain if there were any broken bones so I could come up with a plan. I took pictures of his paw after he settled down and forwarded them to a friend out of State who works with an animal rescue and sent copies to another friend whose dog was recently caught in a snare while walking a public trail. I knew that he had become involved in educating people about the dangers of trapping and snaring but not much more. I hoped that some good in the form of awareness could come from the situation. To my surprise and great relief my friend made it possible for me to take him to a local veterinarian where he was x rayed and written a prescription for pain fills and anti inflammatories; they told me he had been very, very lucky (I say blessed). While there were thankfully no broken bones we had to keep careful watch of the paw to be certain there wouldn’t be permanent damage due to being severely restricted for such an extended period of time. The next day I met up with my friend and learned more about trapping and snaring laws (or rather the absence thereof) and was horrified to learn how woefully inadequate laws are regarding snaring and trapping. Each of us, our children and our pets are in danger due to the irresponsible lack of trapping and snaring laws and regulations in Alaska. Not only is it legal to trap and snare on public land but there is no reporting whatsoever of caught animals, tame, wild or even people for that matter. The shocking reality is that the rights of individuals who trap and snare trump the freedoms of those who might haplessly become harmed or killed. There are additionally no timelines in place as to how often traps and snares much be checked which is cruel and inhumane. While I personally wholeheartedly support subsistence lifestyles in Alaska, this is an animal cruelty and endangerment issue as well as an issue of concern federally as eagles and other endangered species can be caught in this traps. I wish to thank my good friend and those who made it possible for my service dog to get the treatment he needed. He isn’t fully recovered yet, but he will be and it is my prayer that snaring and trapping will become regulated to ensure the safety of pets, families and humane trapping and snaring in Alaska.