Traps, be it steel-jawed leghold traps, conibear traps, or snares, are inherently indiscriminate. Each year, traps in the United States injure and kill millions of “nontarget” animals—domestic dogs and cats, rabbits, deer, songbirds, raptors, livestock, and even endangered species. Referred to as “trash” animals, nontarget wildlife often are simply thrown away. Injuries from leghold traps are often so severe that the injured limb of a trapped companion animal must be amputated. Conibear traps, however, kill many of their unintended victims. Andrea Cimino (The Humane Society of the United States) states:
‘Companion animals have been trapped along the edges of railroad tracks, running and hiking trails, streams, airport fences, and campgrounds. They’ve been caught under porches, in backyards, agricultural fields, and the middle of cities. They are caught on private property and on public lands, including national forests and municipal parks.’
Trappers are rarely prosecuted when a pet is caught by a trap. Trapping is a largely unregulated activity, and where restrictions do apply, they are poorly enforced. In most cases, trappers do not leave identification on their traps, so trappers cannot be traced or fined for neglecting their traps.
For a complete list of non-target trapping incidents please view Born Free USA’s updated list.