Maria, the little dog, missing, caught in a trap overnight

Helena, Montana

Maria, the little dog, missing, caught in a trap overnight, on a popular Helena trail makes the nightly news. Maria broke three teeth biting frantically at the trap trying to escape. Imagine her terror and bitter cold being trapped exposed to the elements overnight and injured after apparently trying to run down the familiar trail back to the car.

We have no mandatory trap check time intervals and no mandatory trapper education. Trappers can legally set as many traps and snares as possible and leave them unattended and unchecked for days, even weeks. The only exceptions are for traps set for wolves require 48 hr visual checks and sets for bobcats in designated lynx protection zones. Although the trap and nearby snare found were illegally set, anyone can trap in Montana no educational training required. Trap Free Montana Public Lands is working to change all that! Stay tuned!
Note trapping is legal year round in Montana!

The traps were illegally set along this popular trail in Helena. A snare, which easily strangle animals to death, was found nearby.

After removing the untagged, illegal traps, the FWP warden left a note for the trapper. No reflection on the game wardens but this is what enforcement of our limited regulations looks like for trapping. It is hidden, secreted, no training, no education, no testing required and only the trapper knows their whereabouts. Heck Montanans don’t even need to purchase a $29 trapping license to trap! The license is only required to trap some species. The indiscriminate damage trapping does, legal or not, is then either stumbled upon, inflicted on the public and their pets or bragged about on social media. Do the trapper’s get caught breaking the law? Rarely, very very rarely. And even then, some are not charged.

Representative Bob Brown has submitted a bill for the Montana legislature to reimburse trappers. For what? Where is a bill to reimburse the petowner’s medical expenses for their trapped animals and worse, for the deaths of them courtesy of trapping?

To read more on the illegal traps that harmed this little dog:

Game wardens seize illegal traps near Helena after dog gets caught at popular hiking area
Dog was caught in a illegal leg hold trap near Helena, owner cautions