We must stop trapping on our public lands


Dec. 27, 2013, was a cold, winter blue sky day, like many in Montana. We were walking our dog on a path where we have walked for the past 17 years. Our dog was glad to be out in this familiar setting about 30 feet to our side sniffing for rodents. Suddenly she was leaping into the air, crashing back to the ground, frantically screeching, yelping and biting uncontrollably. One leg trap was clamped above her front left paw and another on her back left paw. She was fiercely trying to bite them off and blood was flowing.

We restrained her from breaking more teeth and calmed her. We did not try to release the traps for fear of hurting her more. My friend started having severe chest pain. We both had our cell phones so we called 911, our vet, and the land owner. We tried to pull the traps from the frozen ground where they were staked, no luck, such a mixture of archaic tools and telephones!

Our vet was able to release the traps and Solano was taken to our vet’s office for X-rays, found to have no broken bones, though several broken teeth from trying to bite off the steel traps. My friend continued to have chest pain and later was taken by ambulance to Bozeman for an emergency angiogram. She had a stress-induced cardiomyopathy and is now doing fine.

Both were lucky; other pets or people might not be so lucky. A wild animal would definitely not be so lucky. The horror of my dogs reaction and injury in this short amount of time haunts us with the unthinkable hell a wild animal might go through in the 24 to 48 hours or more 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 150 feet or less from a road, and the trap does not need to be marked in any way for a person to see it. This treatment of animals is not a “hunt” at all, it is malicious torture of our wildlife and can lead to injury of people, their children and their pets.

We must stop trapping on our public lands and I-177 can do just that; it will not affect private lands or public officials from trapping but it will be the answer to our lands, please vote for I-177.

Ursula Neese