At least six dogs have been killed over the past year by body-gripping traps designed to kill raccoons, beavers, bobcats and other species. In response, new regulations governing the use of the traps will likely be introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate next week.
Lawmakers are working on bills that would require traps set on public or private lands to be either completely submerged under water, or set at least five feet above the ground. And DNR fish and wildlife director Ed Boggess says there may be other ways to protect dogs.
"Other states that have approached this issue have also included options that are on the ground, but they restrict the size of the opening, require the trap to be recessed back into a box where a dog can't get its head back into the trap," he said. "We're going to work with legislators and others to come up with a reasonable approach."
Officials with the Minnesota Trappers Association say they oppose any new regulations that would restrict the use of body-gripping traps. Association spokesman Gary Leistico says those new regulations would make the traps ineffective for most species.
"I think trappers have done everything they can to minimize non-target catches and they do a very good job of it," he said. "With everything there can be the occasional and unfortunate incident, but we believe the current trapping regulations and the education and training trappers have are adequate to allow for the safe use of the trap."