Petition circulates against furbearer trappingPublished 8:54am Monday, January 28, 2013
Wildlife says no danger to pets
Polk County Commissioners’ recent actions to petition the state to allow legal trapping of furbearers has caused some to sign a petition against it saying trapping is harmful to pets.
The petition as of last Friday around noon had 64 signatures and asked residents against trapping to attend the Polk County Board of Commissioner meeting on Monday, Feb. 4.
Emmy Summers created the petition on Jan. 24, which can be found at www.causes.com under the title, “PETITION: Citizens for NO Trapping in Polk County, NC.”
“Proponents of trapping argue that these days, the traps really don’t hurt the animals, that the steel traps are ‘flexible” and a humane solution to the coyote problem and the beaver problem,’ Summers said. “They insist that dogs ‘don’t get into traps,’ but that only the target animals do. This is simply not true.”
The petition, addressed to Polk commissioners, Sen. Ralph Hise and Rep. Chris Whitmire says, “Help prevent the trapping of fur bearers in Polk County! Please help us stop the re-introduction of Legal Trapping in Polk County … Not only are traps cruel, they are also completely indiscriminate. Every year, dogs, cats, birds and other animals — including endangered species — are ‘accidentally’ crippled or killed by traps placed in public areas across the country.
The only way to prevent animal companions and other unintended victims from wandering into these horrific traps is for the U.S. to follow the lead of 88 other countries and ban the use of steel-jaw traps once and for all. As long as steel-jaw traps and other body-gripping devices are available to trappers, animals will continue to suffer and die in them.
Please help us be a humane county and let our elected officials know how we feel about this. There are newer and more humane ways to solve this problem.”
Polk County’s N.C. Wildlife Resources Officer Toby Jenkins said people who think trapping harms pets are uneducated about traps that are legal in North Carolina and how they work.
Jenkins said the steel jaw traps are what the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife use to trap otters and red wolves to relocate them.
“The traps of 40 years ago no longer exist,” he said.
Polk, Rutherford and Cleveland Counties are the only counties out of North Carolina’s 100 counties that do not allow trapping during season. Jenkins said there have been no incidences in North Carolina where a pet has been harmed in a trap and there are thousands of licensed trappers.
If trapping is made legal in Polk County, trappers will have to get a special trapping license, place their name and address on the traps and have written permission to trap on someone else’s property, Jenkins said.
Jenkins also said the way the law currently reads it is unlawful to possess a steel animal trap off someone’s property in Polk County.
“Even buying a steel trap at a store and bringing it home is not legal,” Jenkins said. “You can’t even trap a stray cat or dog and take it to the humane society. Even Po’ Kitties (if they are using steel traps) is illegal.”
Jenkins said traps allowed in the state are made to not harm animals with a shock absorber. Traps also have to be checked every 24 hours.
Summers said she and others against legal trapping feel the restrictions are too lose.
“The steel traps are quite simply, barbaric torture devices where animals are made to suffer in agony for up to 24 hours before the trapper is required to check the traps. And who makes sure the trapper actually goes back in 24 hours,” Summers said. “The truth is, no one monitors the trappers. If they want to take a day or more off from checking their traps, they can do so with no consequence. Except for those animals suffering in the traps.”