Releasing a Pet from a Trap (Short Version)

Releasing a Pet from a Trap (Short Version)

Let’s hope the day never comes! But somebody might need a quick diagram like this one. Courtesy of the Reno Gazette-Journal


  1. Cover animal’s head with blanket, sweater, jacket, whatever is handy, to calm him/her and to prevent biting
  2. Carry tools if possible. For instance, wire cutters. Perhaps have a heavy-duty bolt cutter in the vehicle.
  3. If you cannot open the trap, maybe you can cut the anchor chain and take the animal, trap and all, to nearest veterinarian.
  4. Nevada law empowers you to remove/open/tamper with a trap that poses obvious risk.
Golden Retriever Dies in Body-Crushing Trap

Golden Retriever Dies in Body-Crushing Trap

November 7, 2013  Email 

I recently lost my beautiful Golden Retriever to a full body animal trap that was set next to the Walker River bank. I was walking with my dog along the same route as I have for the last two years when her life tragically ended when she became entangled in an animal trap that had been set out for beavers. I watched in horror as my beloved Golden Retrievers life ended right in front of my eyes, despite my efforts to release her from the grasp of the iron trap that had snapped around her neck and head, squeezing the life from her by suffocation. My frantic efforts fell short of her release and I too was severely injured, my right hand thumb and hand received deep lacerations that required multiple stitches to close. I was also told by the ER Doctor that I may need further treatment by surgeons to repair the damage done. I was never able to release the grasp of the trap by myself, I had to call for help, and it took two young strong lads to pry the trap from my lifeless dogs neck. -Gary Park [ Conibear-type traps are impossible to open without special training. They are set in shallows to catch beavers and muskrats. They are almost always lethal.]

Nani Kula- died in body crushing trap before distraught owner, Gary Park
Dice Trapped Five Feet From Road

Dice Trapped Five Feet From Road

Letter January 2013

To whom it may concern,

On July 24, 2004, my husband Rob, myself and our daughter Jade went for a hike on the terraces at Ward Mountain.  We drove to the terraces via the Lion Springs road and did not see any postings for government trapping; it was posted on another access road but not the one that we used.  When we got to the terraces we went on our hike on the main road and about 10 minutes into the hike our dog Dice got his foot caught in a trap that had been set 5 feet from the roadway by a government trapper.

He was howling in pain and I had to try to hold him while he was biting me so that my husband could remove the trap, I physically could not have removed the trap by myself.  We were all very traumatized by this event and could not believe that a government trap would be set so close to a public roadway, what if a small child had stumbled on to this trap?  These traps could easily brake the leg of a small child or domestic dog.  What if a family was driving or walking on this roadway and a wild animal had been caught in the trap and they had to witness this torturous, painful event?

My husband contacted the agency responsible for this careless act and was told that it is illegal for government traps or commercial traps to be set so close to a roadway and that they would be removed.

We would like to hike in this area again but have not returned in the seven years that have passed because we are still traumatized by what happened and too afraid that our dogs will get caught in a trap.

This type of illegal trapping practice should never be allowed to happen, traps should never be placed in an area where people, children or domestic animals are present.

I have included pictures of the trap and its proximity to the roadway.

Thank you, Michelle Gelskey

Trap within 5 feet of road.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash So They Won’t Get in My Traps!

Keep Your Dog on a Leash So They Won’t Get in My Traps!

February 1, 2011Personal email: [Message from Randy Johnston who created the unique Hard Luck Mine Castle – a must-see phenomenon in the Nevada desert not far from Death Valley.]

First I must say its great to get some kind of response from persons that have the same problems with trappers and the same out look on the subject!

Getting up this morning and looking at your email was the best cup of  coffee I’ve ever had! You must excuses my writing I’m poor at that so bear  with at times.

In the last 12years I have had 3 dogs that have been in traps.the first  dog was in a trap over 3 days and covered all the area looking for her  with no luck and had to leave on a road trip on the last day. Just when I  was leaving the trapper shows up with my dog with her front leg almost cut

off and then says keep you dog on a leash so they wont get in my traps!

That’s when I first found out they aloud ed trapping. Well went through  Vegas to a vet and the leg had to be removed at the coast of $800.00 out  of my expense not the trapper. This dog was only 7 mon.old so she spent  the rest of 10years on three legs and could run like the other dog I had.

Then camping buy the Belmont area let my Basett dog out in the morning I  was the only person camped and he go cout in a trap and I heard him and  got him out in time before to much damage was done. The traps were all  over the area close to the camp site!

I live on 40 acre of land on Gold Mt. I’m the only home on the Mt. And the trappers always set there traps all around my land so my dogs smell the  sent they put out and then leave to check it out and yes get in a trap!

I’ve asked if they could move there traps a mile or so away so my dogs  won’t get in the traps flat refused said they can put them any were they want !but at the same time they have hundred of open Mt. Area around this  area.

This year lass month my new dog didn’t come home at dinner time so went  out on the A.T.V in the dark looking and stopping and calling and could hear her some were out there! After two hours I found her in a trap with a  very large weight on the trap that she had dragged more than one quarter

mile trying to get home! It took her over a wee before she could get around.

Then about a week ago my Bassett didn’t come in at dinner time and went  though the same looking all over the area and never found him! The next  day was going to town and ran accraoss the trappers down the road from my  home and they had the Bassett in there truck he had been in there trap all

night and the damage is so bad to the joint in the leg that I think heal  never be abel to run again. That when I got into the trappers to move  there traps a mile down the road and they said NO!!! We can trap were ever  we want!!! These persons are the most arigrent people and don’t give a

damn about animals and what they do to them! All they want is the $$ from  the state or how ever pays for the skins!

What’s the worse thing is how the animal dies,first they get in the trap  and spend 3to some times 5to7days in pain and then comes along the trapper  and he doesn’t shot the animal he clubs it to death (to cheap to use a gun  it mite coast $)

I’m very interested in helping were ever I can on stopping trapping!

— Randy Johnston

Hard Luck Mine Castle
Trapper Jane

Trapper Jane

Cat Rescued from Leg-hold Trap in Golden Valley –
Receives Treatment at Nevada Humane Society

On Sunday, August 22, 2010 another cat was found in a leg-hold trap, this time in Golden Valley. Now named Trapper Jane, the two-year-old black and white domestic feline, was caught in a leg hold trap and picked up by a Washoe County Animal Services Officer. After being treated at a local veterinary clinic and finishing the five-day legal hold period for stray pets, she was transferred to Nevada Humane Society on August 29.

Trapper Jane amputation surgery

Her crushed toes were amputated Sunday morning at the NHS clinic and she will be under veterinarian care at NHS for the next month. Her recovery will require ongoing wound care and pain management, but she should in time be able to walk and become available for adoption.

“Trapper Jane is a very outgoing, friendly, lovable cat, in spite of her ordeal.” said Kimberly Chandler of Nevada Humane Society.

Trapper John recovering from a night trapped in the river.

Five months ago, another cat was caught in a leg-hold trap in Cottonwood Park. This cat, later named Trapper John, was discovered partially submerged in water and struggling to free himself from the trap. Though hypothermic and injured by the trap, Trapper John was saved by NHS veterinarians.

The Trapper John incident prompted public outcry over the use of leg-hold traps. The Washoe County Commission and the Washoe County Wildlife Advisory Board have both held public hearings on the issue. The Wildlife Advisory Board postponed a decision on a proposal to restrict the use of leg-hold traps in congested areas of Washoe County while TrailSafe, a local non-profit, and the Nevada Trappers Association work toward a resolution that is agreeable to both.

Nevada Humane Society appreciates donations toward the veterinary care and treatment for Trapper Jane. NHS is located at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno and is open for adoptions daily from 11:00 a.m. until 6:30 and an hour earlier on Saturdays from 10:00 am. To make a donation or obtain more information, visit or call 775-856-2000.

High resolution photos are available upon request.

About Nevada Humane Society: Nevada Humane Society is a non-profit, charitable, no-kill shelter with a no-kill community goal. NHS works to find homes and provide care for homeless animals. Our work is made possible by donations.

Trapper Jane was adopted by Trish Swain, TrailSafe Director, Oct. 8, 2010. TJ can best be described as a nonstop love bug who, thankfully, regained full cat agility and found a job as TrailSafe mascot.

Trapper Jane living the good life ever since her ordeal


It was December 23, 2013, the first day of what we planned to be a three-week camping trip. I was with my 12-pound poodle, Woodrow, and a friend. We were hiking the Mormon Mountains near Las Vegas to see the petroglyphs. We parked by the wash and hiked about ten feet when I heard Woodrow screaming. His right front paw was in a trap. I tried desperately to free him although he was biting me and there was blood everywhere. I realized much of the blood was mine – from the bites and from my struggles with the trap. I examined the device as calmly as I could and reasoned I was at least as intelligent as whomever set it. So I managed to open it and we took Woodrow to the nearest veterinarian which was in Mesquite. Woodrow couldn’t walk for the first day, but he did recover and we continued our trip. He was nervous and hesitant – whereas he had not been nervous before he got trapped. I called Nevada Dept. of Wildlife (NDOW) and was told sorry, but they couldn’t do anything because the trap was legally set. “Thank you for sharing our story. It was the most horrific and helpless feeling, seeing my little dog writhing and screaming in pain. He was fortunate enough to have me there to release him from the torture, but so many animals don’t have that good fortune. They are instead left to suffer for days until the trapper puts them out of their misery with a shot to the head. I don’t understand how this cruelty is legal in what is touted to be a civilized society.” -Woodrow’s Proud Mom, Sonja Mills Told in person Feb. 22, 2014.