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Trap Incidents -- Stories from people throughout Nevada -
Pets and Unintended Wildlife getting Trapped


Incident Reports Continued

Incident Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |13 |14|15|16 | 17 | 18

Personal Email Nov. 29, 2014

My dog just got caught in a leghold trap just outside of Silver Knolls, on Red Rock Road. Fortunately I was able to extract her with no serious injury. I contacted the Sheriff’s office and am waiting for a possible call back. If you have any other advice regarding steps I should take, please let me know.

This occurred on BLM open space, within 15 feet of a heavily travelled ATV / foot path, where dog walking is common. At least some of the traps that were set along this trail were well within the ½ mile “congested space buffer zone” within which Washoe County does not allow shooting or trapping. Additionally, the traps appeared to be baited with wool, which as I understand it is not allowed.

A warden did come out and examine the traps. He confirmed that at least some of them were placed within the congested area where they are not permitted, and in addition, the trapper was baiting them in a way that is not permitted. So the warden is going to keep checking and see if he can catch the person returning to check the traps, but of course this is a bit of a long shot. Too bad about no registration on the traps, it seems like such an obvious thing.. John D. Boone

Told in Person February 16,2015
Back right leg of our dog, "Tank." It shows pretty clearly the marking left by the trap he was caught in.

My husband and I live in the country above Dayton Valley and have three dogs. We have always been in the custom (and still do), of letting our dogs out each day - one, by one. The dogs usually just snoop around our property, marking their 'territories,' and then come home.

One day about two years ago, we had let "Tank" out as usual. But, for some reason, this time when we let him out, he didn't come right back [why he went exploring or chasing something up in the hills is still beyond me. He usually doesn't go far to explore like his mother does].

We waited patiently, but no dog. I cried and cried, but after the first day he was gone, I became so worried he was either caught by a mountain lion or even a coyote. It didn't even occur to me of his being caught in a trap...........

When the second day went by I still couldn't stop crying. I was sooooooooo worried. I kept looking out the front window in the hopes of seeing him - to no avail.

Then, just before dusk, exactly 48 hours when we'd last seen him, I looked out the window for the 100th time (or so it seemed), and I had to take a second look as there was "Tank!" He came home and wasn't putting any weight on his back rear leg. I cannot tell you how thankful my husband and I were. I thought for sure we'd seen the last of him.....................

By the look of the wound on his leg, I assumed it was from a trap. He could never have gotten out of that trap unless the trapper had humanely let him go. There's no other explanation.

I feel strongly there are traps still being placed up in the valley below the Virginia Range for possible coyotes but have no proof as I've never seen one in person
- Bonnie Matton

Told in Person March 10, 2015

I met with an officer from NDOW this morning, and showed him where the traps are. They are set legally. He was understanding of my concern for safety.

Here goes on what happened.

On March 7th around 3pm I took my dog to the Carson River just off of Hwy 395 before Stephanie Lane. We took the trail to the left to go where the river is a bit shallow. My dog ran to the water, with me trailing behind. I got to the bank, and saw what looked like a wood stake with something around it. There was some debris piled around it. I wasn't sure what was there, so I was poking it with a stick, and it snapped. I jumped! It scared me, especially thinking about the fact by dog had been right next to it a couple of times.
I went back to my car, since I had left my phone there. I called Douglas County Sheriff to ask about traps. They referred me to NDOW, and gave me the number. I called and left a message. I wanted to take a picture of the trap, and the location, so I went back down. I took the picture, and thought I'll go upstream where there isn't debris by the edge of the river. We went upstream about 25-30 yards, and all was good. There is a downed tree with some water around it out of the river. My dog heard something there, and was in the water going toward a log, I looked at where he was, and there was anouther trap on the log. I got him out of the water by throwing a stick into the river. I poked at the trap, afraid he would go back where it was. I took a picture of that trap, texted my husband, and left. I was afraid to stay down there, for fear that he would get into a trap that I didn't see.
This is a place that several people take their dogs, and families. It frightens me to think what would happen if a pet, or a child was to get into one of these traps. The officer from NDOW said conibear traps are quite deadly for the animals that get into them.
I no longer feel that it is safe to take my dog to the one place that we have gone several time a week for the past few years, weather permitting. Traps are not safe anywhere near civilization. I also think that they should be visited every 24-36 hours at a maximum.

-Kathi P.



Rocky, 17 - Pound Pomeranian Dearly Departed

Telephone Conversation May 3, 2015 and subsequent emails

I was returning home from my morning walk with a neighbor and my dog, Rocky, on Friday, April 17th, between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Most of the lots in this development are one acre. This lot is narrow and long, gaining access to the Carson River. My backyard is fenced, with a 20’ side yard between my home and the fence line, shared with the neighbor.

As I approached the street entrance of my driveway I heard what seemed to be an animal in distress. After taking a moment to determine if it was bird or other, I felt it to be a cat in trouble. I ran to the front door of my neighbor's and received no response. At this time I moved quickly to gather tools and remove enough of the six foot tall fence boards to gain access to the side yard of my neighbor to assist the animal. It is not unusual for cats to roam in our neighborhood. I have had cats enter my house through the doggie door, as one in particular would rest on the dining room chair, noticed on several occasions. Another time much of my cat’s fur lay on the dining room floor after an indoor battle, detected after returning home one evening. This is when I decided to get him a buddy, and beef up the clan. There is not a leash law in the county, though it is rare to witness dogs roaming freely, without an owner close at hand.

The area that I was opening is approximately 800 sq. ft., and the fence line is 20 feet from my home's north facing wall. In this fenced area, separated from his backyard, he has erected two rows of solar heating arrays that run most of the 25 foot length enclosure. I would guess the panels to be set at a 45 degree angle, and I could not identify the reason of urgent cat cry from the now open fence.

I dropped flat to the ground and crawled under the pool heating structures, to observe that it was one of my two cats. The weeds and underbrush made it difficult to know what had trapped my cat, until I was under the second array, in which I could understand that it was a foot trap. I was able to release her, and kept a distance to observe her gaining safety within my home. After closing down any outside access, I returned to the fence to retrieve my dropped phone.

As I lowered to the ground this time, I noticed my dog, Rocky, flat against the ground, and I could not understand what he was so intent on. Again, the understanding was not clear until I was under the second row of panels, and I saw he was crushed by a second trap. I called my other neighbor, who in turn called 911. Deputy Mike Mathews, with Churchill County Sheriff, was the first to respond. He waited to enter the property, until making contact with the owner, who was out of town for a few days. The Deputy then contacted animal control, and fish and game. I requested to have my dog home, and the deputy confessed that neither he, nor animal control knew how to release the trap.
My brother-in-law said that he would do it, so a call was made to the owner requesting permission for my brother-in-law to enter and get Rocky. I later spoke with my brother-in-law, Darrin, to be informed that there were a total of four traps. One live, two foot traps (a #2 and #3), the fourth being a conibear-type, all secured to the same stake, and a can of cat food used for bait. My cat was trapped in the #2 foot trap, my dog killed in the conibear. I do have a case number and my understanding is that it has gone to the District Attorney to determine what the trapping rights are in this situation.

Mike, the Deputy on scene performed follow-up calls and visits to my neighbors and family involved, and let me know during the visit that there is much "grey" area in the laws of trapping. My animals were trapped on Friday, the neighbors returned home on the following day, Saturday, to stage an evening party for their newly wedded son. I stated some of my opinions before and during the party. He stated that “he could call the sheriff, or we could talk about it the following day.” He never made contact the following day. Very tall A-frame ladders and a bright flood light seem to gather the attention at an outdoor evening congregation of people. ; )

I have lost two deeply loved cats in the last year, and each time I have taken a photo of the felines, with my contact information on back. Never has this neighbor indicated a problem with animals, nor alerted me that he had set traps that would endanger my loved ones. There were no warnings, verbally expressed, or printed and posted.

-Celeste Mills


Subsequent email May 25, 2015

Hey Trish-
    You most certainly have my permission to use the photos I sent. I hope that the loss of Rocky and the injury to Topaz will aid in awareness to the cruel and "grey" areas our laws allow for trapping. 
    Topaz has lost three of her four toes. Her body discarded them over time, and they were removed with the first two dressing changes. I must say that I feared the worst for her foot, as the odor of dying tissue under her soft cast was quite strong for several days, which cleared after the second cast change. I think the vets (she was seen by 3 or 4 different doctors during the 5 trips) wanted to see what nature chose to remove, then they went in to aid the process and get a thorough inspection while she was under anesthesia. She still prefers to move on three feet, and pulls that back paw under when she is moving quickly. I was informed by the vet that she will have nerve sensitivity for awhile. I had lost a small amount of a finger tip 10 years ago and am just getting used to sensation with that digit. I can only imagine what discomfort her whole foot is going through as the nerves regenerate. She has the large (landing) pad, so that is a plus for her active life. I witnessed her go after a cat that came into the yard last week, so she has little fear for a cat challenge with her injury. The surgery  brought her total medical bills up to $475.00, and I expect that is about it for Topaz's severe injury. My neighbor has not spoken to me since all of this tragedy was revealed.
    I know that I released Topaz from a foot hold trap. My brother-in-law claims that the size is a #2, the smaller of the two foot hold traps that were set on the property.
Best always-

Topaz paw damageClose-up paw damage
Topaz undergoes painful process.

Stella at Little Washoe Lake, her favorite spot.

Relaxing with Fluffy, their daily routine.

Personal Conversation July 12, 2015

About three years ago, my friend and I were walking our dogs about 1/4 mile from Pleasant Valley School. We came upon a nest of traps. I heard my dog Stella squealing and whining from under a tree. Her left front paw was caught in a trap. It took both of us working on it, but finally we managed to open the trap and free her.

Veterinarian exam showed that only the squishy part of her paw was held by the trap, thereby avoiding worse injury. She will probably have arthritis in that paw as she ages.

-Linda Anderson

Personal Conversation July 17, 2016

It was the fall of 2014. I was driving 15 mph with my dog, Toby, running behind to get his exercise. We were north of Pyramid Lake on BLM land. It was just luck that I slowed down at that time thinking to get out of my truck. Then I heard a scream. I followed the sound to find my Toby about 60 yards away, caught by the right rear foot in a trap. I tried immediately to open the trap and he bit me. But I managed to open the trap. There was blood on Toby's face and my hands. I could see he had lost his two top canines from biting at the trap. But later I found out most of the blood was from the bait.

I saw another chain and another trap and could see the bait in a baggie on that trap. I contacted Nevada Dept. of Wildlife and was informed these traps were illegal because of the bait.

Toby was four years old at the time. His only injury was the loss of his canines. However he wouldn't leave my side whenever we went out. I never thought about trapping before this happened to us. And I've often thought how lucky it was that I stopped the truck at that time. Had I driven further, would I have found Toby?

-Brad Riley






Personal Conversation Sept. 17, 2016

This happened about 35-40 years ago. We were living near Eureka. My dog usually went outside for short periods of time, always coming right back home. But one day she didn't come back. My Dad went looking for her and found her trapped immediately outside our fenceline. She was already badly injured, having tried to bite off her paw. We got her to the veterinarian where the paw was amputated, but with lots of care, she survived. - Frances Wilde



Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity. - George Bernard Shaw