Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leg-hold traps are cruel

Earlier this month, a terribly mean and unnecessary cruelty happened to my dog. I was up cutting firewood in the Boulder Mountains. It was a perfect afternoon.

I had just started cutting wood with my brother, and our dogs were out playing and exploring our wood-cutting site up Boulder Creek Road. It was a site I had been to four times in the last few weeks.

Over the sounds of my chainsaw I heard the most bloodcurdling scream and howling of a hurt animal. I stopped my saw, looked down and saw that my little 10-month-old shelter dog had been caught in a leg-hold trap. Buddy was howling and jumping in excruciating pain like I have never heard.

I ran down the hill to try to free him. It was a sight and experience I hope others will never have to have. My poor little dog was tearing at his leg, biting at the steel trap and jumping about uncontrollably. He was in the most intense pain for no reason of his own.

I went right for the trap trying to free him. I could not open the trap my first two attempts, due to my inexperience and the strength of the trap holding his leg. Each time I released the trap unsuccessfully Buddy hurt more and howled louder. It was an awful experience. Buddy was freaked out and biting at everything and anything he could.

I got bitten a number of times trying to free him. I finally freed Buddy and my poor little dog ran in circles for about a minute yelping in pain. I felt so sorry for him. It was so unfair. That night I thought how lucky I was to be able to find him and free him from the steel trap. It was a very awful experience.

I thought of others who might not have had the strength to open the trap. I can't imagine leaving your dog in pain like that and driving to find help. I thought of wild animals that get caught in traps and suffer for hours until the trapper comes up and kills them.

I thought this should not be legal. I thought we should outlaw trapping in Blaine County or the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. I see no possible benefit of steel leg-hold traps. I know some people hate government. I know some people hate rules. But we have to have rules when people in society are cruel to others or wildlife. It's amazing to me that common sense and respect for life are not shared by everyone.

Tom Pomeroy


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