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Family seeks to halt use of cyanide traps


An Idaho family has launched an online petition aimed at outlawing the government’s use of cyanide traps like the one that sent their son to the hospital and claimed the life of their dog last month.

The devices are used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in remote areas to control predators by exposing them to a blast of cyanide gas.

Canyon Mansfield, 14, was knocked to the ground last month when a cyanide trap, also known as an M-44, spewed cyanide gas into his face and killed his dog, Casey, within seconds.

Although the government has said the devices are only planted with the permission of property owners — and only after neighbors are warned — the Mansfield family says it had no knowledge of the device, installed about 350 yards from their home.

canyonmansfieldSince the March 16 incident, Canyon has experienced headaches, nausea and numbness and has visited a neurologist for testing, his parents say.

The USDA maintains the devices help resolve conflict between wildlife and people in the safest and most humane ways possible, but “the nature of the cyanide bomb is neither safe nor humane,” Canyon’s father, Mark Mansfield, a doctor in Pocatello, wrote in an online

“Cyanide gas has been used throughout history to murder masses of people,” he said.

The M-44s, also known as “coyote-getters,” are designed to lure animals who smell their bait. When an animal tugs on the device, a spring-loaded metal cylinder fires sodium cyanide powder into its mouth.

Over the years, thousands of non-target animals — wild and domestic — have been mistakenly killed by the lethal devices.

Four conservation and animal-welfare groups announced Tuesday they are suing the Trump administration for “failing to protect endangered species from two deadly pesticides used to kill coyotes and other native carnivores.”

“Cyanide bombs are indiscriminate killers,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“In just the past several weeks they’ve injured a child and killed an endangered wolf and several family dogs. These dangerous pesticides need to be banned, but until then, they shouldn’t be used where they can hurt people or kill family pets and endangered wildlife,” Adkins said.

The government, meanwhile, has called the accidental death of family pets from M-44s a “rare occurrence,” and said Wildlife Services posts signs and issues other warnings to alert pet owners when traps are placed near their homes.

(Photos by the Mansfield family)


Comment from Therese
Time April 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Oh my gosh John! Thanks for posting this. I had no idea U.S. Ag Dept. has been using chemical warfare on nature. I thought this stuff only happened in Syria. Seriously! This is wrong on so many levels. Thanks again for being a great dog advocate.

Comment from Catherine Prisock
Time April 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Stop the madness‼️❤️🐺

Comment from Leslie
Time April 7, 2017 at 8:33 am

This is madness! When will these people finally wake up from their deep slumber? Thanks for sharing.

Comment from John Reynolds
Time April 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

As this story points out it isn’t just the dog that is killed or injured. The whole family is traumatized.

I lost my dog to a legally set body grip (conibear type) trap in 2011. Five and 1/2 years later I still have to fight panic attacks when I”m walking my dogs and they are out of sight for more than a minute. MN allows the almost unregulated use of these lethal traps. They can be set on designated hiking traps and even baited with dog food. Dozens of dogs have been killed since 2011. One MN legislator told dog owners that we should just accept our dogs being killed.