Recreational trapping on public lands has long been a contentious topic and is in the forefront of discussions pertaining to wolf hunts, management, and recovery. For one Wolf Conservation Center volunteer, the controversy hit too close to home. Read David’s story:
They found us on the road walking towards them. State Troopers, the EMT squad and the ambulance people surrounded us. My canine girl Annie and I were a bloody sight. Being blonde, the blood was vivid on her fur. Splattered all over her. My right hand was completely blood red. The right side of my face was blood red. Blood splattered all over my coat, sweatshirt, pants, boots, everything.
The blood was all mine. She hadn’t been cut. The leg-hold trap she stepped in did not break her skin. Small consolation considering the misery and agony and anguish the trap inflicted on her. I saw the trap spring up and close on her leg. She was on a leash so we were right next to each other. And immediately she freaked out. She tried running out of it, tried running away from it, tried jumping out of it. But she couldn’t.
I grabbed the trap almost right away. I knew the trap had to come off ASAP. But I didn’t know how they worked. So I couldn’t get it off right away. But with me having grabbed the trap right away, Annie thought I was responsible for the pain. Or, she was simply out of her mind. One or the other. Because nothing else would explain why she was biting my hand. And biting my face. I was vaguely aware of this biting. My focus was on the trap and how to open the jaws. Peripherally I was aware of her ripping my flesh. Of her canine teeth puncturing my hand and cheek. I remember feeling her teeth penetrating my cheek to the muscle and thinking she could just rip my cheek off. And I said to her, nonchalantly even, “don’t honey, I’m busy here”.
Being in the trap made her attack me. Me, who walked her 6 days a week at the shelter for 5 months. Me, who then adopted her from that miserable shelter life. Me, who gave her a home and car and yard of her own again. Me, who feeds her as well as any animal. Who gave her the home where she can sleep on the couch or bed or orthopedic dog bed or yard, anywhere. Who gives her so much exercise that she crashes asleep for the whole night. Who never raised a hand to her in almost 2 years of knowing each other.
Some people seem to wonder now about her temperament, hearing that she attacked me while I was trying to get that trap off her leg. People who think she should have known I was trying to help her, rather than thinking I was causing her pain. And not attacked me. Reality is that she couldn’t think of anything but the anguish. She was just out of her mind. Did you ever grab a dog by the tail and hold it like you mean it? The dog freaks out. Even your own dog. Being in the trap is a hundred times worse.
And remember, we’ve all heard that some animals will chew their own leg off, just to get free of that trap. Endure the pain and agony of chewing THEIR OWN leg off. Another dog recently broke 17 of his teeth trying to chew the trap off his leg. Trying to get out of that evil trap. And they are evil. I can now attest to that personally.
I hated traps before. I hate them even more now. I work with The Wolf Conservation Center, helping people understand and appreciate wolves. And stop the persecution. Killing with high-powered rifles, from planes and helicopters, with poison, snares, hunting dogs, and yes, traps. Now that Annie stepped in one herself, I’ve seen the cruelty myself. Up close and personal.
I eventually figured out how to open the jaws. She pulled her leg out. We headed to the road as I called 911. I knew I couldn’t treat my wounds myself. Annie was walking good. No broken bones, no fractures. Her leg swelled up for two days.
They spend hours in the trap. Out of their mind. Struggling, fighting that trap. Emotional agony. Mental anguish. Insane fear. Going mad. Mad enough to chew off their own leg. Or attack their human daddy. And trappers say that these leg-hold traps don’t cause serious injury. The human capacity for bull is boundless.
And the animal will endure that agony and anguish for hours and hours until the trapper comes. And shoot the poor animal in the head, dead. Enduring hours and hours of agony and anguish, until some human comes and shoots them dead.
Traps are evil. How can a civilized society still allow such a thing?
Guest Blogger David Forjan currently lives in Schroon Lake, NY and is going on his second year as a volunteer for the Wolf Conservation Center. His work ethic and commitment to our mission are among the reasons we consider him a valuable member of the WCC team. David never fails to demonstrate the promise of making our world a better place. Just ask Annie!
There is currently an active Whitehouse.gov Anti-Trapping petition. If the petition gets 100,000 signatures by February 19th, the Obama administration will have to address it.