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.
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)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 6th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, casey, center for biological diversity, control, cyanide bombs, cyanide traps, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, endangered, federal, government, idaho, kill, killed, lawsuit, m-44s. m44s, mansfield, outlaw, petition, pets, pocatello, predator, species, use, wildlife
It looks like a harmless sprinkler head, but it’s a bomb, filled with poison — and your own federal government planted it.
They are called predator control devices, or M-44s, and they are placed — generally in remote areas in the West — by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to control fox and coyote populations.
Last week, one of them killed another dog, a three-year-old lab named Casey.
The devices release a burst of cyanide when activated.
The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office says the cyanide bomb, or cyanide trap, as they are most commonly called, detonated Thursday, killing the family dog.
The incident occurred on a ridge line located above a residence on Buckskin Road in Pocatello.
Fourteen-year-old Canyon Mansfield was walking his dog on land neighboring his property when he saw what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding from the ground.
He bent down and touched the pipe. There was an explosion and a hissing sound. The boy noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. He washed his face off with snow, then called his dog.
Spotting his dog on the ground, the boy ran to him and “saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure.” The dog died within minutes, he said.
Canyon, the son of a doctor, was checked out and released, but advised to report back for monitoring of his cyanide levels, according to the Idaho State Journal,.
The devices consist of spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.
There have been calls to ban them, but APHIS says they have been deemed by the EPA to be necessary tool to reduce losses livestock owners face due to predators.
“Wildlife Services has removed M-44s in that immediate area. Wildlife Services is completing a thorough review of the circumstances of this incident, and will work to review our operating procedures to determine whether improvements can be made to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences happening in the future,” the statement said.
A spokesman for APHIS said that the “unintentional lethal take of a dog” is a rare occurrence.
The statement also said that M-44 devices are only set with permission from property owners or managers, and that this is the first unintentional take of an animal with an M-44 device in Idaho since 2014.
“The USDA’s statement regarding the horrific incident that happened to my family yesterday is both disrespectful and inaccurate,” Canyon’s sister, Madison, said. “The USDA intentionally refers to the brutal killing of our dog as a ‘take’ to render his death trivial and insignificant.”
According to Predator Defense, one of the organizations working to halt the use of the devices, two dogs were killed earlier this year near Casper, Wyoming, while on a family hiking trip.
(Photos: At top; Canyon Mansfield holds up Casey’s collar, by Jordon Beesley / State Journal; at center, the cyanide bomb that went off, provided by the Mansfield family; at bottom, Casey in a family photo)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 20th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animals, aphis, bannock county, Canyon Mansfield, coyotes, cyanide, cyanide bomb, cyanide trap, deputies, device, dog, dogs, face, fox, foxes, government, hazard, health, idaho, killed, kills, m-44, m-44s, pets, pocatello, predator control, predators, safety, sheriff, spray, warning, wildlife
Dogs from the Pocatello Animal Shelter in Idaho are being used in a “surgical skills” lab at Idaho State University, where participants meet once a year to perform tracheotomies, and practice inserting chest tubes and catheters.
When the doctors are done practicing, the animals are euthanized.
According to an Associated Press report, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has condemned the program, and asked that it switch to using mannequins instead of dogs.
Officials with the Idaho Committee on Trauma, which sponsors the yearly surgical skills lab at Idaho State University, say mannequins aren’t as effective for training as live animals. They say they’ve offered the training for 25 years without complaint.
“I’m disappointed this group would suggest we’re doing something illegal, because we’re not,” said ISU professor Alex Urfer, the school’s physical and occupational therapy program chairman. He said his program was accredited three weeks ago by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animals.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine told the Idaho State-Journal it plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month, alleging the ISU lab violates the federal Animal Welfare Act. He said said the ISU lab uses sedatives and shock collars to keep dogs docile.
According to the organization, based in Washington D.C., only a handful of 200 Advanced Trauma Life Support classes in the country still use live animals for training.
“We have been able to communicate information with other facilities to change their practices,” Dr. John J. Pippin said. “We’re hoping that the light of day will cause people to say, ‘Gosh, we should have stopped using this a long time ago.'”