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WI - Pet Owners Speak Out About Traps

Pet Owners Speak Out About Traps
Posted: 6:23 PM Nov 28, 2007
Last Updated: 10:02 PM Nov 28, 2007

Reporter: Katie Heinz
Email Address: katie.heinz@weau.com

Two Eau Claire pet owners say animal traps set in a public recreation area have hurt or killed their dogs in the last month.

And now those owners want the Parks and Forest Committee to take action.

Hunters can set their traps in the Eau Claire County Forest.

But legally, they can also set traps at the Tower Ridge Recreation Area.

And that's something a few local dog owners want changed.

Mary Jo St. Aubin rides her horse, Pepper, on the Eau Claire County Forest trails three times a week.

And she says her 12-year-old dog, Bart, loved to tag along.

"It was so enjoyable to watch him sniffing, smelling, and running after me with his tongue hanging out," St. Aubin, who lives in the Town of Seymour, said.

But two weeks ago, St. Aubin's trip down this trail turned tragic.

"Bart just ran down the side of the trail to the stream," St. Aubin said. "I thought it was unusual that he wanted a drink so quickly. And immediately I heard an agonizing howl. I looked down, and he was violently struggling to get this trap off his neck."

But St. Aubin says she couldn't get the trap apart.

"The nightmare just keeps going and going," St. Aubin said.

The Wisconsin Trappers Association estimates about 100 people trap animals in Eau Claire County.

"I'm helping maintain the balance of the environment, and I'm also helping with nature," said Wisconsin Trappers Association Eau Claire County Representative Jim Gordon. "We help clean up streams and clean up after people."

The organization works to inform the public on the purpose of trapping, and trappers, on what's safe.

"We send out booklets to entail what we should do to make sure all trappers understand it's our responsibility to try as best we can to make sure nothing else goes into your trap," Gordon said.

The DNR enforces the rules and says trappers must consider placing their traps to avoid contact with humans and domestic animals.

Members of the Forest Committee say they are concerned with safety -whether it's people or pets.

But Eau Claire County Parks and Forest Committee Director John Staszcuk says the full County Board will have to make any decision banning or regulating trapping at Tower Ridge.

"We haven't been down this road before," Staszcuk said. "If Parks and Forest wants to take action on the recommendation, it could go to the County Board to modify trapping regulations."

The Parks and Forest Committee will be holding another public hearing on the issue coming up in January.

For more information, including the DNR's trapping regulations, click on "Featured Links."


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