Pet owners, trappers at odds over trapping plan

(AP) - Animal advocates and trappers are at odds over a plan to restrict trapping of fur-bearing animals in Clark and Washoe counties.

A special committee of state wildlife commissioners will hold meetings Monday in Las Vegas and Wednesday in Reno on the plan to ban trapping within 1,000 feet of a residence using anything but box or cage traps that don't injure animals or pets.

The Nevada Humane Society and citizens group TrailSafe say dogs and cats have become entangled and injured in leg traps in Nevada's two most populous counties, and restrictions are needed to protect pets and children.

The two groups want to prohibit trapping within at least 3,000 feet of a residence except for box-style traps that don't injure animals. The Nevada Trappers Association supports such a ban only within 1,000 feet of a residence.

Reno-based TrailSafe's website features sad stories of pet owners across the state whose dogs and cats have become caught and injured in leg-hold traps.

"Trapping is an archaic practice. It befuddles me as to how anybody could set a trap for any reason, let alone to close proximity to domestic animals and kids," said Debra Drum of Sparks, a business owner who has two cats.

Joel Blakeslee, president of the trappers association, said trappers shouldn't be operating close to homes and he supports the ban on leg traps within 1,000 feet of homes.

"The last thing you want to do is get somebody's pet," he told The Associated Press. "Last year, we talked about (banning leg traps within 3,000 feet of homes) but that was problematic for enforcement. How do you know that distance? I think 1,000 feet is easier to determine."

The issue ended up at the Nevada Legislature earlier this year after the state wildlife commission rejected TrailSafe's request for a trapping ban within 3,000 feet of residential areas in Washoe County.

The original legislation would have made it illegal for someone to trap a fur-bearing mammal within 3,000 feet of a residence in Clark or Washoe counties using anything but a trap that didn't injure animals or pets.

But the measure was gutted and replaced with language directing the wildlife commission to create regulations on the activity. Lawmakers said they would be willing to consider a trapping bill next session if the commission fails to act.

Trapping opponents now are pushing for other restrictions. Among other requirements, they want trapper identifications to be on all traps, traps to be checked every 24 hours and the same trapping rules to apply to private property.

The committee meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at Nevada State Parks Building in Las Vegas and at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Nevada Department of Wildlife headquarters in Reno.


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