Dog caught in wolf trap leads to awful situation



The day was like many in Montana — a cold winter blue sky day. We were walking our dog last week in an area where we have walked for the past 17 years. Our dog was glad to be out in this familiar setting and was out to our side about 30 feet sniffing and looking for rodents, when all of a sudden she was bolting in the air frantically screeching, yelping and biting uncontrollably. We ran to help. It took a second to realize what it was: “My god, it’s two traps that were clamped down on her front leg above the paw and her back leg at her paw.” She was fiercely trying to bite them off. Blood was flowing. 

We were freaked, and tried to calm her. We tried to restrain her from hurting herself more. She finally went into shock and became docile. We were afraid to try and release the traps for fear of hurting her more. My friend started having severe chest pain and I had to take over restraining Solano. We both had our cell phones, so we called 911, our vet, and the land owner. We then tried to pull the traps from the ground where they were staked. No luck. Such a mixture of archaic tortures and telephones!

Our vet arrived and the sheriff was not far behind. Our vet was able to release the traps. Solano was taken to our vet’s office, X-rayed, and found to have no broken bones, though she has several broken teeth from trying to bite off the steel traps. My friend continued to have chest pain. 

Both were lucky. Other pets or people might not be so lucky. A wild animal would definitely not be so lucky. The thought of how my dog reacted and was injured in this very short amount of time reminds us of the unthinkable process a wild animal might go through in the 24 to 48 hours before her killer arrives.

Montana regulations are very much all about the trapper and not about the public or the animals that are being trapped. A trap can be set only 150 feet from a road, and the trap does not need to be marked in any way for a person to see it. In fact, most of the regs are all about the hunt. This treatment of animals is not a hunt at all — it is malicious torture of our wildlife and can lead to injury of people and their pets. 

I suggest that anyone thinking of joining the trapper group please take two traps into a field, stake them down, and when they are nicely frozen in, walk out and place both hands into the traps so they will snap into place. I’m sure no trapper would do this, but I hope you get the point. We must stop this trapping now, please write, call your legislators.

So the second part to this horrific day: When Solano was caught in a wolf trap and DD and I were struggling for Solano’s life, a rush of adrenaline and calcium was heading for DD’s heart. What that means in the medical world is that she was having a heart attack caused by the anxiety of our dog’s life being threatened in an instant. We took her to the ER in Livingston, where her enzyme levels indicated that her heart was sustaining damage. She was taken then to Bozeman by ambulance, and into the cath lab. They determined that she had a Stress Cardiomiopathy a “mild heart attack” that is solely produced in a fight or flight situation. She is going to be fine. She does not have a diseased heart — her attacker was the wolf trap.       

Ursula Neese
South of Livingston