Our dog George was killed by a baited kill-trap on a public snowmobile trail in Ontario in 2014. Since then, we have been raising awareness of the issue as well as lobbying the provincial government to make long-overdue changes to our trapping laws.
Trapping laws are outdated and dangerous
Current laws allow trappers in Ontario to place kill-traps and snares on public trails, beside roadways, in Provincial Parks, on private property right beside your home – all the places we love to walk with our dogs, our families and our grandchildren. And all without letting you know the lethal devices are there. We don’t know how many dogs are killed or people injured by these traps every year, because no one keeps track, but we know of far too many cases. It’s all the more heartbreaking because these deaths are completely preventable.
We have the right to know when we are in the vicinity of these deadly traps. If we had known traps were allowed on our local snowmobile trail, we would never have taken our dogs there. Trappers should be required to place warning signs where their traplines intersect with public spaces. There should be a minimum required setback from public trails, roadways and private property lines. Some trappers place their traps 5′ off the ground to prevent dogs getting killed by them. But none of these safeguards is required by law. When a trapper places a trap right on a public snowmobile trail on Crown Land, as the trapper did that killed George, it is completely legal.
MNRF refuses to act
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) sets out the laws regarding trapping in the province. Since 2015, we have been asking the MNRF to review existing trapping policies. Other provinces, (e.g. Manitoba pdf), have done public reviews and made common-sense changes similar to the ones we are seeking. Despite widespread support, including more than 100,000 signatures on our petition, the MNRF will not undertake the much-needed review of current policy or consult the public on this issue.
We’ve made some progress
We have been asking for:
- Mandatory posting of warning signs on public trails and shared spaces
- Minimum setbacks (150m) from public trails and spaces
- More public education about the danger
There is some good news. The MNR has changed its policies and now “encourages trappers to set traps at a safe distance from roads and trails, to use dog-proof trap sets, and to communicate their trapping activities to other trail users.” All things we’ve been asking for. These are only recommended guidelines though and are not being followed by all trappers. These practices must be made into law, as they were in Manitoba, so that trappers risk losing their licenses if they don’t follow the rules.
You can help
We have had incredible support over the past few years and want to thank everyone that has taken the time to sign the petition, share on social media and write their MPPs and MLAs. We know this is a cause that many people believe in. If you are able and would like to support us by helping out with legal fees, you can donate here.
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