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Hearing Today on Bill to Reduce Animal Suffering In Traps

A cat receives medical attention after losing two toes to a trap near Reno in 2010. (Nevada Humane Society)
A cat receives medical attention after losing two toes to a trap near Reno in 2010. (Nevada Humane Society)
April 4, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A bill to lessen the suffering of animals caught in traps gets a hearing today before the state Senate Natural Resources Committee. Right now, trappers only have to check the devices every four days.

SB 364 would require checks every 24 hours so any non-target animals can be freed sooner.

Trish Swain, director of the grassroots group, TrailSafe Nevada, says the bill also would require the trapping area to have signs posted and the traps themselves to be marked so hunters and hikers can keep their dogs away especially from the steel-jaw traps.

"The animal screams, he's struggling, his bones are being broken by this trap which closes to 3/16 of an inch," she said. "He's in awful pain and terror and he can't escape. And this happens to people's pets, and people have watched their beloved pets die in front of them."

Trailsafe has received 110 reports of unsuspecting pets being caught in traps over the past decade. The self-reporting by trappers to the state shows more than 3,500 non-target animals have been killed in recent years, mostly rabbits.

Swain notes that a number of other states ban or restrict the use of traps they consider to be cruel, including leg iron traps, snares that form a noose and slowly strangle the animal, and conibear traps that are hidden in streams and kill instantly.

"I'd love to see us get rid of them," she added. "That would be, ultimately, the best, I think. However, it's been politically so difficult in Nevada. What we have done up until this time is try to reform the laws that apply to trapping."

The bill also would require each trap to be registered. Swain estimates trappers kill from 1,000-2,000 bobcats a year in Nevada and says they sell the pelts in bulk, mostly to wholesalers from Russia and China.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV