Pets, Non-Target Species & Trapping

The question of non-target species, and in particular, domestic pets caught by trappers is of concern to many. We know from information obtained from the Nevada Department of Wildlife that a relatively small number of trappers (perhaps between 10-20% of those in the field any given year) reported catching 195 domestic dogs over an 8-year period with 16 of them found dead in traps. Domestic cats numbered 116 caught with 28 found dead in traps during the same time frame. We believe that many more are caught..probably in rural areas…and that missing pets in winter which are blamed on coyotes may have been victims of fur trappers.   These are not just pets let off leash, trapped dogs include working animals, including birding and cattle herding dogs.

And we’ve not mentioned that other species….from pack rats and rabbits to magpies, an occasional golden eagle or owl, on to mountain lions are impacted by fur trappers. Mountain lions in particular are frequently accidentally caught (It is not legal for fur trappers to trap mountain lions in Nevada.). We know of a few cases where a lion has starved to death, or nearly so, due to trap injuries. We know that many others suffer injuries such as missing claws and toes, foot pad injuries, broken bones, dislocate joints, broken or missing teeth, and probable frost bite injury to the portion of the foot below the capture point of the trap in sub-freezing weather. We will be posting some of this information before long for those interested to review.


Laura Bies, Director of Government Affairs

The Wildlife Society

5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 200

Bethesda, Maryland  20814-2144 

Regarding:  TWS publication:  FERAL HORSES:  GET THE FACTS 

Dear Ms Bies 

Recently, a friend sent me your above-referenced 4-page article which I’d not seen before.  Though there is no date or authorship designated, it appears that the piece was probably issued within the past 3-4 years. 

Though the Wildlife Society touts its members professional credentials early on as the authority on this matter, claiming as an organization to purse the “highest standards” and be “committed to science-based policy”, it struck me as odd that TWS used the term, “Feral” in the title instead of “Wild Horse” which is, of course,  the legal designation for many of the horses living full-time on public lands in the West.  continue reading