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Maggie, a Border Collie, Killed by Illegal Government Trap

WIldlife Services mercilessly kills dogs in their unrelenting war on wildlife

In April 2011 I posted an essay titled "Dog Killed by Wildlife Services: The Horrific War On Wildlife Knows No Bounds or Decency". I reported that a dog named Bella was killed by an M-44-sodium cyanide device placed on the private property of a family in Texas by members of Wildlife Services, a branch of the United States Department of Agiculture that is responsible for the wanton and incredibly inhumane slaughter of all sorts of wildlife (for more on their war with wildlife see also). Their website claims, "The mission of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) is to provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist. WS conducts program delivery, research, and other activities through its Regional and State Offices, the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) and its Field Stations, as well as through its National Programs." They do this using horrific methods to slaughter millions of animals who they deem to be "pests." They also knowingly and shamelessly break laws and literally get away with murder. 

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Bella's tragic death at the hands of Wildlife Services didn't have to happen and once again a thoroughly avoidable tragedy has occurred, this time in Gresham, Oregon. Maggie, a young border collie, was killed by an illegally placed government trap. Some details of Maggie's horrific death are reported by the organization Predator Defense.

Maggie's body after being illegally trapped and killed

Here's some information, and if you can handle it you can read more, but this should be enough for you to take some action now. "Maggie, the McCurtain family's black, brown and white border collie, was only seven years old on August 27, 2011, the morning she died just a few feet from her fenced-in back yard. It was an unusually warm morning, which made her routine visit outdoors that much more inviting, and the scents outside that much stronger. For reasons unknown, the backyard gate was open that morning. Within minutes of stepping outside, Maggie-who loved to swim and camp with the family and play fetch with Squeaks the kitten-would have her neck broken and windpipe crushed. About 9 a.m. Denise McCurtain, Maggie's guardian, heard frantic knocking at her door. A neighbor asked if the family had a black and white dog. She said she'd seen one by the water but it wasn't moving. The dog was Maggie. She was immobile because her head was caught in the vice grip of a Conibear 'instant-kill' trap. She was still breathing, her eyes flashing in fear and pain from the more than 90 pounds of pressure that slammed the trap's jaws shut around her neck when she stuck her nose in to sniff the bait ... Within a few hours of her death, the trap that killed Maggie along with the live box traps, were gone. The McCurtains found another kill trap behind their house a couple of days later." An interview with the McCurtain's can be see here.

The Conibear "instant-kill" trap kills by breaking the neck and strangling the victim. The one that killed Maggie had a 9 inch jaw spread and a trap of this size is almost impossible to open by hand. Conibear traps are square, with two rotating jaws, the larger version (the one Maggie died in) has two springs. It makes me ill and teary to imagine the pain and suffering that Maggie endured. Not only does Wildlife Services catch and kill non-target nonhuman animals but children could also easily be one their victims.

Wildlife Services is a federal agency and can be contacted here. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can be contacted here. Please also contact members of congress and also write Predator Defense to register your complaint.

Cruelty can't stand the spotlight and Wildlife Services must be held accountable for all of the killing for which they are responsible. It's only a matter of time before a human is harmed by their reckless ways, not that Maggie and Bella's deaths don't matter. Of course they do. 

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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