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December 6, 2012

The HSUS Condemns Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Position on Pet Safety and Trapping

Agency won’t protect pets from traps, but urges pet owners to carry bolt cutters

The Humane Society of the United States strongly criticized the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Oregon Trappers Association for shameful disregard of pet safety on public lands during trapping season, which began Nov. 15.

Among other things, the state advised pet owners to carry wire cutters and rope and learn how to use them to save their dogs or other pets that are caught and injured in these indiscriminate traps – an idea that itself demonstrates absurd disregard for pets, their owners and values of non-trapping public.

Last Spring, The HSUS, in partnership with Predator Defense, Portland Audubon, Oregon Sierra Club and Cascadia Wildlands, petitioned the Fish & Wildlife Commission for new rules that would have required trappers to check their traps every 24 hours, post warning signs near their traps, and keep their traps a minimum distance away from public trails, campgrounds and other premises used by the public. The Commission, at the urging of ODFW and OTA, adopted only a watered-down version of the setback rule. ODFW recently distributed a press release that puts the onus on pet owners, rather than trappers, to protect these innocent animals.

"It is reprehensible to deprive pet owners of simple regulatory standards to safeguard pets against being caught in these cruel and indiscriminate devices laying in wait on public lands," said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The HSUS. "All right-thinking citizens should be horrified to hear the state agency say that dog owners should now carry bolt cutters to try and save their animals from agonizing death on lands that belong to all of us. 

For the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to issue such unbalanced regulations for trappers and still attempt to portray itself as concerned for the safety of family pets is a disingenuous, and will not fool the majority of citizens who want reform of trapping in Oregon. The agency worked closely with the trappers to choreograph the defeat of reforms that are overwhelmingly supported by Oregonians.

The HSUS is urging the Oregon lawmakers to pass legislation in the 2013 session that will ban trapping for recreation and commerce. Other trapping conducted in the name of wildlife management should be limited by regulations designed to safeguard pets and their owners. 

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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