Unfortunately this petition involves some sad and disturbing news. While out walking with my dogs before Christmas, our dog George’s head was caught in a baited kill-trap (Conibear). He died a slow death while I struggled unsuccessfully to free him. The trap was located on Crown Land just a few feet from a side trail and within 20 ft of a popular snowmobile/ATV trail.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), through our local Conservation Officer, was informed of what happened and is investigating. However, they told us that there are no rules about how close to trails the trap can be set and no requirement to notify the public that they are there. There does not seem to be any way for the public to find out where traplines are; they could be anywhere on Crown Land, on your neighbour’s property, even in Provincial Parks and you wouldn’t know.
Ontario Tourism is currently running ads that show a family cross-country skiing while their dogs run off-leash beside them. Where is it safe to do that? We no longer feel secure anywhere except on our own property. Sadly, at least one other dog died this way in Ontario in December. The Belleville Intelligencer reported the death of a dog in a Conibear trap on the Heritage Trail, a popular all-season multi-use trail. The kill-trap was set within 30 feet of the trail.
My husband and I both grew up in rural areas. We had no idea the risk we were taking every time we took our dogs out on this trail. One of our responsibilities as pet owners is to keep them safe. We failed George in that regard. Please help us make sure this doesn’t happen to another family pet, or worse, a child out on a walk with his parents.
To prevent more deaths on Ontario trails and improve the safety of everyone sharing our outdoor spaces, we urge the MNRF to:
- launch a public awareness campaign about the danger to pets and people from active traps – including publishing maps online that show registered trapline areas, and
- improve trapping practices and regulations – including setting a minimum distance from public trails, and marking trails that run close to traplines.
We hope we can turn this event into a catalyst for positive change.
June 13, 2016: Following a cabinet shuffle in the Ontario government, this petition is now addressed to Hon. Kathryn McGarry in place of the former Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Hon. Bill Mauro.