Trapping cruel

Published 9:02 am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To the editor:

When I read that the Polk County commissioners had approved a resolution to expand trapping in Polk County, I was heartbroken.

Apparently, this archaic idea was promoted by Wildlife Officer Toby Jenkins and two or three others. Most citizens did not know that this controversial matter was to be brought up on Jan. 7 and there was no information provided on alternative methods.

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In a spirit of cooperation, several of us met with commissioners (Keith) Holbert and (Ted) Owens before the public meeting on Feb. 4 and respectfully requested that they ask Representative Whitmire to table the bill and allow a citizens committee the opportunity to inform the community of alternate methods to control “nuisance animals.” They suggested that we speak at the commissioners meeting that evening, which we readily agreed to do. The commissioners sponsored the testimony of officer Jenkins and two biologists who were pro-trapping. A number of citizens spoke about why trapping is cruel; why it is ineffective and does not work to solve the problem; why the ban on allowing steel traps to take animals on leased, non-agricultural-only property should not be lifted; they requested that the commissioners work with a citizens group and officer Jenkins on alternative methods, and requested that the resolution be tabled. There was no action, no reaction and no follow-up on the part of the commissioners.

Since the Feb. 4 meeting, we have called and emailed the commissioners. Chairman (Michael) Gage never returned my voice mails or emails. Despite the fact that our contacts in Raleigh have confirmed that the best and fastest way to stop the bill lifting the ban on trapping is to have the commissioners table the resolution, the commissioners have stated that it is now “out of their hands.” It is apparent that the commissioners have no interest or intention of working with their constituents who oppose trapping.