Letter: Stricter rules needed for trapping

The time has come for stricter trapping regulations across the state of Alaska. There are countless stories of dogs, people and non-targeted wildlife being injured or killed by traps. This has to stop!

Right here in Juneau, in December of last year, a bald eagle was caught in one these cruel devices. Thankfully one of our Juneau residents, Katt Turley, was able to release the eagle from the trap and transported it to the Juneau Raptor Center. Sadly, the bird’s injuries were so severe that the only option was euthanasia. Imagine what would have happened that day if Katt had not been walking by to help the eagle. Imagine what it must feel like for any wild animal to suffer while it waits for the trapper to come back and “finish it off.” Also, imagine the feelings of your dog when it gets trapped in one of these devices — and the panic you must feel while trying to release your beloved pet! Training and strength in a smaller person is necessary to release a pet from many traps. Traps are indiscriminate, meaning they don’t always catch what is targeted, and furthermore they don’t always kill the animal right away, leading to fear and suffering. Alaska regulations fail to contain any required time limit for checking a trap line.

It is irresponsible to place traps in areas where people and pets frequent, or in a land where many adventurous people reside and want to freely hike and enjoy our beautiful landscape without worry that they or their pets (or even children) might step in a trap. Alaska should have reasonable regulations limiting trapping to areas that are not populated, including commonly used trails. We are fortunate in Juneau to have an ordinance protecting populated areas from trapping. Even with this ordinance, incidents with trapping domestic animals and non-target species still occur.

I urge you to get involved. Write your elected legislators and Gov. Bill Walker to let them know you support tougher laws and regulations for trapping. It’s time to stand up and protect ourselves, our pets and our valuable wildlife!

Michelle Anderson

Veterinary technician, Juneau