Gretchen in front,
Gauge behind

On January 18, 2012 at approximately 2:30-3:00 pm, my husband took our puppies to run in the ravine next to the South Valley Sports Complex.  Gauge is a 10 months old German Wirehaired Pointer and Gretchen is a 9 months old GWP.

We have often taken them to this area to run (as do many, many other dog owners) and have never had any incident.  Until yesterday.  Jason was no more than 20 feet behind the puppies as they ran out into the ravine.  He lost sight of them, whistled, and Gauge immediately returned to his side.  Usually, Gretchen is better about coming when called, but she didn’t return.  Instead, Jason heard her whimper, so he followed the sound to his left and found her in a coyote box trap.

She had been attracted to the bait meat and went into the cage.  Jason didn’t realize that there were snare traps as well inside the cage, so when he released the pins to raise the doors and Gretchen turned to come out, she found her neck in a noose.  It worked exactly like a zip-tie, so the harder she pulled the tighter the snare became.

Jason tried everything to release her from the snare, but it was no good.  Gretchen was in a panic and bit Jason on his Right forearm, in his efforts to release her.  He realized that he needed additional tools and ran back to his truck to get, something, anything.  He found a pair of Lineman’s pliers and ran back to Gretchen and clipped her free.  By now she had passed out and did not appear to be breathing.  So he gave her two rescue breaths to resuscitate her.  After the second breath, she rolled over on her tummy and was very dazed, but back.

We returned to the park a while later to try to identify whose trap it was and who would be so irresponsible as to set coyote traps next to a park where people walk their dogs almost constantly throughout the day.  I called the phone number listed on the laminated notes on the trap.  It said, Caution:  Do Not Disturb This Trap.  COYOTES CAN CARRY RABIES THIS IS AN AUTHORIZED TRAP.  Call – – – For Further Information.  A man named Dave answered.

His rationale and justification for doing this was that “a coyote as big as a German Shepard” not only attacked, but stole his dog only 4 feet from him in that very valley.  So he was seeking retribution.  And in doing so needlessly and carelessly put our puppies in danger.

Luckily, Gauge stayed right by Jason while he tried to rescue Gretchen because we found 3 other snare traps along the fence line, all baited with meat.  I shudder to think that both of my puppies would have need to be rescued. 

. . . It is very disappointing that the only thing Dave could be fined for was being too close to the roadway. Not for being too close to a park/playground.  Not for setting traps that could endanger pets or children.

Not only was this experience unnecessary and terrifying, but my husband had to go get a tetanus shot and we took Gretchen to our vet to make sure that she was ok, which thankfully she is.