News / Calgary

Calgary, southern Alberta incidents renew calls for ban on leg-hold trap 'landmines'

Two new reports of southern Alberta animals found caught in leg-hold traps in recent weeks have triggered renewed cries for bans and stiffer enforcement against those using the devices.

Brenda Willy was cleaning in the back-alley area of her Midnapore home on Easter Sunday when she said she heard a "clink, clink" noise and spotted a hare caught in a leg-hold trap running down the lane.

She believed the frightened animal's leg had been broken by the device but was unable to track it down despite searching alongside friends for a full day.

Willy figures the rabbit died of its wounds.

"That could have been somebody's cat, somebody's dog, somebody's kids — these things are like landmines," she said.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has since been notified of the incident and offered up a $1,000 reward for information leading to those responsible.

"Trapping is a pastime for a select few people," said group spokesperson Adrian Nelson. "They can trap animals legally with leg-hold traps, various other traps and sell the pelts for money . . . the problem with traps is they're complete indiscriminate. It all hinges on who is the unlucky victim who just happens to step on this thing first."

Willy's discovery was not in isolation, either. A few weeks ago volunteers with the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) were also called on to care for a puppy found caught in a similar trap a few hours south of Calgary.

"Luckily, it didn't break his leg but it did put a hole through the bone," said group director Deanna Thompson. "He's recovering now in foster care and he actually will save that leg."

But AARCS has been involved in two other cases in the past three years in which animals caught in traps suffered more dramatic injuries, Thompson said.

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Jamie Hanlon, public affairs officer with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, said Alberta is compliant with international standards for humane trapping, but added that such devices are permitted to be used on private land, including areas in Calgary, if proper permission is obtained from the landowner. He did say, however, trapping rabbits or hares is prohibited.

Hanlon added, "The challenge is that traps can purchased by the general public at any number of hardware and sporting good stores in the province. There are no legal requirements for the purchase of these traps to be licensed."

Nelson said he's been made aware of four leg-hold trap incidents in Calgary alone in recent years.

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