By Michael Howell
Last Monday, November 19, a Florence area resident was walking his dog at the Florence Bridge Fishing Access Site when his dog was caught in a leg-hold trap illegally set along the river bank. According to Region 2 Wildlife Manager Mike Thompson, the trap was anchored to an old concrete bridge abutment. The dog’s owner, unfamiliar with leg-hold traps, was unable to remove the trap from the dog’s leg but eventually managed to pull the whole trap loose from the concrete wall it was attached to. The trap was removed at a local veterinary clinic and no bones were broken.
Thompson said that enforcement officers were able to identify the trapper from the required ID tag on the trap. The trapper was cited for placing a trap illegally and may face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or serve up to six months in jail for the misdemeanor charge. Thompson said that trapping is prohibited at Fishing Access Sites without special permission from the agency. Permission is sometimes granted for specific reasons, he said, but not very often.
Thompson warned that trapping is permitted on private property along the river but only with landowner permission. He said the state’s Stream Access Law cannot be used to allow setting traps without landowner approval. State law also prohibits trappers from setting traps within 1,000 feet from trailheads and campgrounds or 50 feet from trails or roads.
Thompson said that it is illegal for a person to remove a trap that has been set, but that the dog owner in this case would not be prosecuted.