Pet News: Fur Trappers vs Pet Owners

Dunedin Couple Produce Magazine For Dogs

By Cheryl Bentley The Suncoast News
Recently, at an outdoor cafe in Dunedin, Rita, Chloe and Zoe became furry magnets.

The three pooches drew numerous visitors to the table by just being dogs. People petted and talked to them and broke into big smiles when they saw them.

They also told the dogs' guardian, Anna Cooke, how much they love dogs.

Cooke knows that. She and her husband Steve are publishers of The New Barker, a magazine devoted to dogs. Miniature pinscher Rita, 4, and cockapoos Chloe, 10, and Zoe, 11, are the couple's canine family and their inspiration for much of the content of the magazine.

They appear in the magazine as canine models, making the publication a family affair.

Since its initial issue in December 2006, the magazine appears to have become a prominent voice for all things doggy on the Suncoast. With a circulation of 10,000, the 80-plus-page quarterly for an upscale readership covers a variety of dog-related stories ranging from doggy fashion to canine rescue groups.

"The one thing I was concerned with was would we have enough content," Cooke remembers.

She needn't have worried. Cooke describes the number of doggie subjects suitable for coverage as "unbelievable." The magazine's articles span the dog world. They have included pieces on holistic canine health and young handlers at dog shows. Other articles have covered dog training, doggie treats found at area farmers markets and stem cell therapy for canine osteoarthritis.

The Cookes strive to give a balanced view of the dog world with articles about beloved pets but also information on rescue groups and their animals. Every issue has two pieces on rescue groups. Cooke estimates with articles and advertising, they have devoted about $50,000 worth of free space to rescues.

Advertisers include sellers of urns for pet remains, a tear stain removal product, pet jewelry and boat trips for canines and their people. The National Antivivisection Society took out an ad against experiments on live animals.

The New Barker is a mom-and-pop operation. Steve Cooke handles the business end of the magazine, and Anna the editorial. She writes about 80 percent of the copy and does the photography. "We take thousands of images," she said.

Covering area dog-themed events keeps Anna moving. She most recently was in Brooksville in January covering Florida's largest dog show, the Classic Clusters.

The Cookes own their own advertising and design firm in Dunedin. They got the idea of a dog magazine for upscale readers after noticing the number of dogs they encountered in outings with Chloe, Zoe and Rita in dog-friendly Dunedin.

"We agreed there was a need for a lifestyle magazine that advertisers would be proud to advertise in," Anna Cooke explained.

Judging from its cover graphics and typography, any resemblance between The New Barker and another decidedly upscale publication, The New Yorker, is no accident.

After getting positive response from a focus group of readers and advertisers, the Cookes took the plunge.

"I don't think we stuck our big toe in and tested the water," Anna Cooke smiles. "We went full steam."

Failure was not an option. "We were committed to it," she notes. "We love dogs."

The magazine has touched something in Cooke that advertising does not.

"Being in the advertising business, you do something for someone else," she says and notes how the magazine is different. "Each issue I feel I'm coming closer to finding my voice. ... I feel like I'm contributing something to the better good."

For more information on The New Barker, go to>. For subscriptions, e-mail or call 727-736-4616.

Cheryl Bentley can be reached at 727-815-1069 or

Thai Muslim villagers look at birds in cages taking part in a bird-singing contest in Yala province, about 1,100 km (683 miles) south of Bangkok March 8, 2009.
REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

Fish Care Guide

Some people find taking care of fishes as a pet difficult. The reason behind this maybe is that they lack familiarity or they were not given the right information on the proper ways aquarium care as well as the fishes inside, but the truth is, it is not that much difficult at all.

There are several things to be considered in order to become successful on taking care of freshwater aquarium :


Regular water changes remove contaminants and waste byproducts from the aquarium and replace them with fresh clean water. Typically you should perform water changes on a regular schedule so that all of your water changes add up to about 100% in a month. Some common examples are 25% water change once a week or 15% water changes twice a week.


Research the recommended temperature range for your fish and make sure that all of the fish in your tank can live in the same temperature range. After finding out what temperature is acceptable to all of your fish species set your temperature there and try to keep it from changing much. Be especially careful when performing water changes that the water is not too hot or cold when you change it.


The aquarium should be located in a position to take advantage of any available daylight, but not direct sunlight. Near a window is preferable, but the tank should not be in a position where the sun shines directly into its and over heats the water. Avoid locations near heaters and radiators that can warm the tank and cause overheating. Air conditioner events and other drafty spots must be shunned as well as rooms, such as kitchens, that experienced abrupt fluctuations in temperature.


About 12 hours of light per day is optimum. Fish need light to see, feed, and reproduced. Light also has a definite effect on the fish’s’ color. Dull illumination is sufficient for most fish but more adequate lighting is a necessity for plants. Artificial light may supplement natural light or be used as the sole light source. The control of plant growth and the suppression of plankton and algae are easier with artificial light only.

Don’t use too many chemicals

Using pH adjusters or chemicals to clear the water is usually not a very good method to keep healthy fish. Also keep in mind that most medicines are very harmful to the fish because they either stress them directly or kill the biological bacteria in your tank that is keeping it healthy. If you need to adjust the pH of the water, you should use rocks or substrate to raise the pH or wood or plants to lower it. This will stabilize the pH and prevent wild swings in pH.

Some of the best advices is to be careful in feeding the fish because over feeding of fish may result to harm. There are also some people who put too many fishes on their aquarium, do not forget that might cause inadequate supply of oxygen for the fish and real plants inside the tank if there are too many fishes on the tank.

Editorials & Opinions
Ft Worth Star-Telegram

Cheers: To Dr. Kathy Williamson and the staff at Boulevard Animal Clinic in Colleyville for helping save my 7-week-old puppy, Toby! Our family appreciates her insight to quickly and properly diagnose the problem. She kept close tabs on him the whole time and never lost faith. — Melody Mitchem and family, Colleyville

Jeers: To the owner of a lost Doberman. I darted into traffic to save your very malnourished dog, bathed her twice to rid fleas, picked off ticks, fed her well and gave her much love for two days. I took her to the vet to be scanned for a chip and you were found. You didn’t show her any affection and never said thank you. Being able to afford a nice pet doesn’t make you a nice owner. We will gladly take her back. — Steve Nelson, Fort Worth

Jeers: To my neighbors who let their dogs run loose and the dogs defecate in the yards. The dog owners do not make any effort to clean up the mess and it is quite irritating. I have the "privilege" of cleaning up several days each week, and since I do not have a dog, I can’t return the "favor." — Harlan Wood, Grapevine

Protecting Your Cat from Hazards
By: Lisa Chelenza - CapitalNews9

If you share your life and home with a cat, you know how sweet, loving, persuasive and ferocious they can be. But just because your cat meows at the door, begging to go outside doesn't mean it's ok. There are many reasons to stay strong and keep your cat inside.

The first reason to keep your cats inside is parasites. Your cat could eat something (rat, mouse, bird) and become very sick due to a parasitic infection. If your cat picks up fleas, ticks, worms or ringworm, they could transmit these to other pets and people in the home.

There are many substances out in the world that are toxic to cats, including pesticides, lawn products, and anti freeze. The sweet taste of anti-freeze is pleasant to cats. Anti-freeze is extremely toxic and your cat will die within hours of ingesting it. It can take less than a teaspoon to kill an adult cat or dog! There are also people who don't like animals, wild or domestic, on their property and will set out poison.

There are several diseases cats can commonly come into contact with while out exploring. FELV, or feline leukemia, destroys a cat's immune system. It is transmitted through body fluids. The vaccine for FELV is not 100 percent effective. Cats infected usually die within a few years.

Protecting your cat from hazards
If you share your life and home with a cat, you know how sweet, loving, persuasive and ferocious they can be. But just because your cat meows at the door, begging to go outside doesn't mean it's ok. There are many reasons to stay strong and keep your cat inside.

FIV is transmitted through body fluids and cuts a cat's lifespan in half as it destroys their immune system. There is no vaccination for FIV.

FIP is feline infectious peritonitis. FIP is always fatal. Tests and vaccines for FIP are not reliable.

Car engines, wheel wells of cars and trucks, not to mention busy streets. Thousands of cats are killed by vehicle related mishaps each year.

Drowning. Your cat could accidentally fall in a swimming pool or hot tub and drown. Pool covers can trap your cat and filters and suction are stronger than you think, cats are not known for being great swimmers.

Keeping your cat entertained will help make inside where they are safe more enjoyable. Having a window perch, catnip, plenty of toys and a few high places just for them should help cut down on the requests for outdoor adventure.

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Hints From Heloise
Washington Post

Cat in a Basket

Dear Heloise: I have found that GIFT BASKETS are great for cats. Once all the items are used and the packaging materials removed, a towel or baby blanket can be placed in the bottom to make a cat bed.

I donate the baskets I no longer want to stray-cat adoption agencies found in several local large pet stores. The cats seem to enjoy the cozy place to lie while waiting for new homes! I am sure other rescues would find them useful, too! -- Elizabeth, via e-mail

Cats do love to lounge, and a repurposed basket is just purr...fect! Pet shelters welcome items like these, so check to see what they need. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My mother's dog, Cadi, suffocated on a dog-treat bag. While my mother went to her garage, Cadi managed to open the closet door, put her head into the treat bag to get a snack, and it got stuck and would not come off. My mother returned to find her dog dead with the bag stuck on her head. She tried to resuscitate her, but Cadi died.

I am writing this letter to let pet owners know to keep their treats locked up or out of a pet's reach. -- Rebecca, via e-mail

Rebecca, please know that we all weep with you and your mother about this tragic loss. Readers, please watch out for your pets. -- Heloise.


Dear Heloise: Buy a BLANK, reflective house-number square from a local home-improvement store and cut it to fit on your dog's tags.

Glue vet or doctor business cards onto free magnets you receive in the mail and store on the fridge. -- Cindy Organ, Spring Branch, Texas


Dear Readers: Patricia and Catharine Vinson of Fredericksburg, Texas, sent a photo of Morgan, their female, tricolored Cavalier King Charles spaniel, looking like she is "smoking" because she is holding a dog treat in her mouth. She was in a puppy mill where she had three litters before she was 2 years old, but now is in a happy, loving home.

To see Morgan, visit -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: A feral cat, Feather, adopted us. He enjoys canned fish, but so do ants and flies. We put an office fan on low speed next to the dish to prevent flies from landing on the food. Then we filled a shallow dish with water, placed the dish of food in the water, and the ants couldn't get to the food. Make sure the food dish isn't in contact with the edge of the water dish. -- Madge and Mel Hazen, Jacksonville, Fla.


Dear Readers: If you have a cat that plays with the dirt in your potted plants, put pine cones, large rocks, shells or stones over the soil to discourage digging. Another hint is to spread citrus rinds (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit) over the soil, since cats usually don't like the smell. -- Heloise

(c)2009 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

Tampa Man Whose 156 Rabbits Were Removed Wants Cats Back
By Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — Peter Bordwell, whose 156 rabbits and four cats were confiscated for improper confinement six weeks ago, was in court Friday pleading for his kittens back.

Hillsborough County Animal Services officials petitioned for official custody of the seized animals. Bordwell surrendered the rabbits, but asked for the cat and three kittens.

As Bordwell, 68, appeared before County Judge Nick Nazaretian, the case prompted some snickers in the packed courtroom.

"One hundred fifty-six rabbits?" Nazaretian said after hearing the summary of the case by Animal Control officers. "Excuse me?"

"What can you possibly do with 156 rabbits?" he asked. "It's not even Easter time."

Animal control officers discussed dangerously high ammonia levels, piles of feces, rat infestations and unlivable conditions.

Bordwell, wearing maroon sweatpants, a blue T-shirt and a strand of keys dangling from a High School Musical lanyard, turned to the now enraptured court audience and started at the beginning:

He bought his first rabbit, Bitsy, in 2000. Bitsy was lonely, so he bought a companion that he named Honey. But Honey turned out to be Harry.

The courtroom chuckled.

But Bordwell was serious. He had photographs and documents in a plastic bag, and was trying to condense nine years of history into a few minutes.

Bordwell said he called zoos, rescues and various other agencies over the years, trying to find homes for the bunnies, but could not. So he cared for them inside his home.

Someone reported the rabbits to Animal Services, who went to Bordwell's house on Jan. 29. When officers arrived, the ammonia levels inside the house were so strong they retreated and had to have the home ventilated, Animal Services investigator Loretta Magee told Nazaretian.

Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan said an ammonia level of 25 or more requires the premises to be evacuated. The level in one room of the house was 36, she said.

Bordwell told Nazaretian he was unfazed and unaffected by the ammonia.

Animal Services euthanized two rabbits and said the others suffered from various ailments. Their paws were stained with so much urine they were fluorescent, Ryan said.

Bordwell showed the judge pictures of the work he has done to his home since his animals were confiscated, like sanding cabinets, repainting walls and sanitizing floors. He assured Nazaretian that he was capable of caring for the cats.

The judge gave Bordwell two weeks to finish cleaning, and said that officers will inspect the home and report back to him before he makes a decision. He set a court date for March 18.

"If he's given any animals back at all, people are going to be monitoring his situation on behalf of these animals," Ryan said. "It was a horrible situation (investigators) had to go into. You can't present this in smellavision. You can't possibly comprehend how horrible it was for these people to have to respond and for the animals themselves."

The rabbits will be offered for adoption, officials said.

As for the 160 misdemeanor charges of improper confinement of animals, those are still pending.

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Captive Condors Released Just South of Utah Border
By Mark Havnes - The Salt Lake Tribune

The four birds are graduates of a breeding program meant to preserve their rare species.

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument - Freedom takes some getting used to. Or at least it did for four California condors hatched and raised in captivity and set loose in the wild Saturday in an event that drew 200 spectators.

The endangered birds were set free from a chain-link release pen at the edge of a sandstone escarpment just south of the Utah border in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona.

Once the gate of the pen was opened, the two 2-year-old and two 3-year-old birds looked out on the world wary of launching into the wild blue yonder, even as they were taunted by ravens and encouraged by other condors outside the pen.

"Sometimes they fly right out and sometimes it takes days for them to leave the pen," said Eddie Feltes, the project manager for the site and a biologist with the Peregrine Fund.

The private nonprofit group has been working since the 1990s to establish populations of the rare bird that feasts only on carrion in their traditional habitats of California, Mexico and Arizona. The birds also are becoming a familiar sight in skies over southern Utah.

On Saturday, about 30 condors converged on the release site to tear apart several cow carcasses the Peregrine Fund had placed around there.

Feltes said the carcasses are placed on rock outcrops regularly to ensure a food supply for the birds, but also to teach the newly released birds how to eat in
the wild.

He said humans stepped in to save the condor when their numbers became perilously low.

In a 1982 census, Feltes said the wild population had dwindled to just 22 birds, so five years later all the birds were captured and put in breeding programs in Idaho, Oregon and California.

The last bird captured, on Easter in 1987, not only helped produce eggs of birds to be released in the wild, but also was released again himself and now soars wild in California.

Before being set free, every bird is fitted with a transmitter that allows biologists to track the creatures, which can live as long as humans.

Today about 160 of the birds soar in the wild, with some of their favorite places being Grand Canyon National Park, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and Zion National Park in Utah.

Feltes said the condors are the largest land bird in North America, weighing up to 25 pounds, and can soar on air currents for hours without having to flap their wings, which can reach spans of about 9½ feet.

"They're just like a hang glider," Feltes said.

Usually mating for life, a pair of condors produces only one egg every other year, usually in a cave or ledge on a cliff, which contributes to their rare status.

A chance to see the magnificent birds Saturday was enough to draw Jackie Coleman from Salt Lake City to the spectator site located one mile from the release site and where the Peregrine Fund had set up spotting scopes and built a fire against a chilly wind.

She said she loves birds and often attends sightings in Utah sponsored by the Audobon Society.

"I just love nature and hiking," Coleman said. "I'd rather look at a rock than a painting in a museum."

Choosing a Boarding Kennel
Cindy Pevner - Baltimore Pet Care Examiner

A boarding kennel can give your pet quality care—and can give you peace of mind. It is very important to find the right kennel and prepare your pet for boarding. The peace of mind will come if you know your pet is well cared for, is safe, and is in good hands if anything should happen.

What are the pros and cons of using a boarding kennel?

Your pet depends on you to take good care of him or her—even if you have to be out of town. Friends and neighbors may not have the experience or time to properly look after your pet, especially for longer trips. If you're going to be away from home for a little or a long while, leave pet care to the professionals, such as a pet sitter or boarding kennel.

A facility specializing in care and overnight boarding allows your pet to:

• avoid the stress of a long car or airplane ride to your destination.
• stay where he or she is welcome (unlike many hotels).
• receive more attention and supervision than he would if home alone most of the day.
• be monitored by staff trained to spot health problems.
• be secure in a kennel designed to prevent canine and feline escapes.

Potential drawbacks to using a boarding kennel include:

• the stress related to staying in an unfamiliar environment.
• the proximity to other pets, who may expose your pet to health problems.
• the difficulty of finding a kennel that accepts pets other than dogs and cats.

How do I find a good kennel?

Ask a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, animal shelter, or dog trainer for a recommendation. You are taking a chance without a recommendation, but you can also check the Yellow Pages under "Kennels & Pet Boarding." Once you have names—even those you got from reliable sources—it's important to do a little background check.

If your state requires boarding kennel inspections, make sure the kennel displays a license or certificate showing that the kennel meets mandated standards. Ask whether the kennel belongs to the American Boarding Kennels Association (719-667-1600), a trade association founded by kennel operators to promote professional standards of pet care.

You can contact the Better Business Bureau for information about any complaints against the kennel you are considering.

After selecting a kennel, make reservations and verify the times to drop off and pick up your pet. You should also confirm that they accommodate any special needs, such as medication, if necessary.

On your visit, ask to see all the places your pet may occupy.

Pay particular attention to the following:

• Does the facility look and smell clean?
• Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
• Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
• Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
• Are pets required to be current on their vaccinations, including the vaccine for canine kennel cough (Bordetella)? (Such a requirement helps protect your animal and others.)
• Does each dog have his own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise?
• Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow?
• Are resting boards and bedding provided to allow dogs to rest off the concrete floor?
• Are cats housed away from dogs?
• Is there enough space for cats to move around comfortably?
• Is there enough space between the litter box and food bowls?
• How often are pets fed?
• Can the owner bring a pet's special food?
• What veterinary services are available?
• Are other services available such as grooming, training, bathing?
• How are rates calculated?
• How do I prepare my pet?.

Double-check that you have your pet's medications and special food (if any), your veterinarian's phone number, and contact information for you and a local backup. Make sure your pet is current with his/her vaccinations.

When you arrive with your pet at the boarding facility, remind the staff about any medical or behavior problems your pet has, such as a history of epilepsy or fear of thunder. After the check-in process, hand your pet to a staff member, say good-bye, and leave. Avoid long, emotional partings, which may upset your pet. Finally, you can leave with peace of mind, knowing that your pet is in good hands.

Why Did the Chickens (and Cats, Dogs, and Birds) Cross the Road? Because They Had the Right To!

November's Prop 2 passed, essentially according rights to chickens--a fact pecked upon by 'No on 8' supporters in protest signs and chants in the election aftermath. Well, give a chicken an inch, and the whole animal kingdom is poised to take their mile, thanks to state lawmakers and the be-feathered or be-furred bills that are heading to Sacramento for approval.

Monterey Park's Mike Eng has "proposed slapping California motorists with a fine and possible jail time if they flee after hitting a jaywalking dog, cat or any other pet or farm animal," according to the LA Times. The measure "would require that drivers attempt to provide aid to an injured critter and notify the owner or animal-control authorities."

Eng believes that pets play a central role in many American families, but have less protection by law than inanimate objects in the case of a car accident. Questions are arising from Animal Control officials challenging the practicality of such a law:

There is potential danger, [Jon Cicirelli of the California Animal Control Directors Assn.] said, noting that injured animals can turn on people who try to help, reacting in the only way they know how -- by biting or clawing.

And, he said, should a motorist be held accountable for hit-and-run on a feral cat that wanders into the road? What about a cow that is hit after escaping onto a remote highway through a tattered fence its owner should have patched?

In addition to bills that "crack down on dog fighting" or put a "ban on docking the tails of dairy cows," there is one that would "make it illegal to let a cat older than 6 months run free unless it is spayed or neutered" and one that would "make animal adoption fees tax deductible." How about the fruits of our sacred chickens' loins? Well, "Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) is pushing anew onto turf already plowed by Proposition 2, that supermarket eggs imported from out of state be from cage-free hens only."

Eng, and others, see these proposals as at the very least opening a dialogue, with lawmakers providing voices for their constituents--so to speak--in the animal kingdom.

Worlds of Trappers, Pet Owners Collide

Reports to the Idaho Statesman of injured dogs are three times higher this year

Where trapping IS allowed

• On most public lands in the deserts, mountains and forests. For example, the Boise Foothills, small wild areas on the edge of town, in gullies, near the trails around Lucky Peak Reservoir and along the Boise River outside of Boise city limits.

• Upland bird hunters may encounter traps during the fall hunting seasons in places like the Owyhees.

• Trapping is conducted in wilderness areas, too. Michael Koeppen, a hiker from Florence, Mont., who spends a lot of time in the Salmon River Trail wilderness area, said he's seen a dog caught in a leg-hold trap and snares placed across the trail.

Where trapping ISN'T allowed

• In Idaho state parks.

• In Veterans Memorial Park in Boise.

• Within a quarter-mile of the Boise River from the New York Canal Diversion Dam downstream to the Glenwood Bridge.

• Between Idaho 21 and the New York Canal from the New York Canal Diversion Dam downstream to Boise city limits.

• The Stanley Creek Wildlife Interpretive Area in Custer County.

• Yellowstone National Park.

• On any of the portions of state game preserves, state wildlife management areas, bird preserves, bird refuges and bird sanctuaries for which trapping closures have been declared.

• All or portions of national wildlife refuges, except as specified in federal regulations for individual refuges.

More information on trapping

• Idaho Trappers Association,

• Idaho Department of Fish and Game,

How lucrative is trapping?

Fur prices vary with supply and demand, but here are some examples from the Idaho Trappers Association:

• Bobcat: $280, but can range from $465 to $1,100, depending on the quality.

• Coyote: $19 this year; $27 last year.

• Beaver: $23, but can be as high as $65.

• Otter, $50: a drop from $100.

• Muskrat: $4, but can be as high as $7.

• Mink: from $11 to $12.

• Marten: $40, down from $60.

• Fox: $15 to $20.

• Badger: $60.

Where do furs go?

The association says they are mainly shipped to Canada and Russia.

When is trapping season?

Trapping is conducted year-round in Idaho, depending on the animal that trappers are seeking. For example, coyote trapping is allowed all year. The height of the trapping season is from fall through March.

Bob Shaw was walking his cocker spaniel, Amos, along an out-of-the-way area near the Boise River in Eagle in December.

Suddenly, the Eagle resident heard a cry of distress from his dog.

"The dog yelled once more, obviously stressed, and I feared the worst (because) he didn't cry out the third time," Shaw said.

At least seven dog owners in the Treasure Valley had similar experiences this winter when their pets stepped in leg-hold traps.

Shaw's story should be a wake-up call to recreationists who hike, bike, or run with their dogs in places - such as along the Boise River or in the Boise Foothills - that overlap with traditional trapping areas.

"We are trying to avoid a head-on collision with (trapping) and sprawling urban growth," said Jeff Wolfe, a conservation officer with the southwest region of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Fish and Game doesn't keep records of trapped-dog incidents, Wolfe said, but officers do take complaints each winter, which can be the busiest part of the trapping season.

The Idaho Statesman hears an average of about two reports of dogs caught in traps each winter. This winter, the Statesman heard of three times that many.


Wolfe speculated there might be more trapping activity this winter because of the bad economy. People want to make extra cash from the sale of furs.

He also thinks more trappers might be setting traps in urban areas to avoid traveling and spending money on gasoline.

Then there's the increase in other recreational activities, like hiking, walking and bicycling in trapping areas. In the 1970s, before subdivisions lined the Boise River, trappers ran lines behind Barger-Mattson Auto Salvage and Plantation Country Club off State Street. Today, it is illegal to trap in that area.

Some cities are taking action. Boise and Star banned trapping within city limits, said Jeff Rosenthal, the director of the Idaho Humane Society, which helped write the law for Star.

Rosenthal said he wasn't aware of laws that prohibit trapping in other cities like Eagle and Garden City.

Fish and Game rules do prohibit trapping along the Boise River in parts of Garden City, and trapping devices are prohibited in city parks.

There are more than 1,100 licensed trappers in Idaho, and Hance Clayton, president of the Idaho Trappers Association, agrees there is a growing conflict between his pastime and urban recreation.

Clayton said trappers have to use common sense about where to set traps.

He thinks trappers in his organization are responsible and wouldn't set traps in recreation areas.


It wasn't easy for Shaw to find his dog and get it out of the trap because of the dense underbrush. What Shaw feared during the ordeal was the 18-degree temperature. "He would have frozen to death during the night if I had not found him," Shaw said.

The Idaho Fish and Game Web site has directions for freeing a dog from a trap, but Shaw found the process difficult.

"The trap was very rusty, and I could not free his foot," Shaw said. "I was able to unwire the trap from the sapling that it was attached to and carry him some 2,000 feet to the car with the trap still dangling from his foot."

It is illegal to disturb traps, but when Shaw couldn't open the trap, he took the dog and the trap to the veterinarian. In cases like that, the person removing the trap probably wouldn't be prosecuted, according to Fish and Game.

A veterinarian had to step on the trap to wrench it open, Shaw said. Immediately, blood spurted from the dog's rear foot.

"Luckily, I didn't get the trap off of his foot at the scene or he might have bled to death," Shaw said.

The injury ended up costing Shaw $130 in vet bills.

Two other dog owners told the Statesman that they had bills for hundreds of dollars from trap injuries.


Despite the conflicts, trappers believe they help with wildlife management.

"Trapping plays an important role in maintaining the balance of nature," said Clayton, who has been a trapper for more than 50 years. "It keeps animals from overpopulating."

Clayton defends the tradition as a way to control wildlife populations and pests, such as raccoons, skunks and beavers, in urban areas.

He said that if trappers don't thin out populations for free, taxpayers will have to pay professional animal control officers to get rid of nuisance animals, such as beavers that cut down trees along the Greenbelt or in riverside neighborhoods.

As cruel as some people think traps are, nature is much more cruel, Clayton said. Nature thins animal populations by starvation and disease.

Dogs do get caught in traps, he said, and that's why the Idaho Trappers Association has worked with Fish and Game to offer tips on freeing dogs.

Clayton designed a sign that can be downloaded from the Fish and Game Web site and posted so that recreationists know traps are near.

Although it isn't mandatory, Clayton put up signs when he was trapping in the Owyhee Mountains because he knew chukar hunters would be in the area with their bird dogs.

He said some trappers don't like to use the signs because sometimes traps are damaged or stolen when people know where they are.

One thing trappers and recreationists can agree on: The best way to keep a dog out of a trap is to keep it on a leash.

Clayton said his organization is offering a class for first-time trappers on proper techniques and ethics. It isn't required, but he wants the class to be mandatory for trappers.

"It's not a free-for-all," Clayton said. "Trapping is strictly regulated."

How can you avoid traps?

• Look for posted signs that a trapper might be setting traps in the area.

• Assume that trapping may be occurring in areas where you will find beaver, fox, coyotes and other fur-bearing animals.

• Keep your dog on a leash in areas where you suspect trapping.

What if your dog is caught?

• A dog can be released from a foothold by compressing the trap's spring levers on each side of the closed jaws.

• Your first objective should be to calm the dog. If the dog is overreacting, remove your coat or jacket and place it over the dog. This should help you to calm down the dog so you can remove the trap.

• To remove a snare, pinch the lock that closes it and reverse the lock. Then, slip the lock back up the snare cable. This will open the snare loop.

• Take safety gear: It's a good idea to carry a small first-aid kit, gloves and a multi-tool while hiking or biking to use on yourself or your dog.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445

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