Pets and endangered species aren't the
only accidental victims of dangerous traps. Though much less frequent
than incidents of non target animals caught by traps, incidents of
humans caught by leghold traps, conibear traps, and snares can be
very tragic. Particularly when such traps are set in areas frequented
by people, the chance that a human, especially a child, could have
a dangerous encounter with a trap is very real. When there are plenty
of humane and effective solutions to dealing with human/wildlife
conflicts, lethal traps are an unnecessary danger to both people
and animals, as the following examples prove.
April, 2002: Abbotsford, British Columbia
A 13 year old boy had his ankle caught in a City of Abbotsford beaver trap
in a city-owned ravine near his home. The boy was exploring the area
around a beaver retention pond to have a look at a beaver dam when he
pulled a chain leading away from a tree. A beaver trap snapped on his
ankle. Rescued by 3 neighbors who heard him screaming, he escaped with
only bruising and pinch marks on his right foot.
1997: Scappoose, OR
A woman's left hand was caught in a conibear trap near her home. With help
from neighbors, she was able to slip her hand out of the trap. Described
as one of the most frightening, painful experiences she's ever had, the
incident left her with nerve damage that caused her severe pain for weeks
1994: northern Wisconsin
An eleven-year-old girl, playing along a creek near her family's vacation
cottage, caught her thumb in a steel-jaw leghold trap set for muskrats.
She suffered from bruising, swelling and emotional distress.
November, 1990: Streetsboro, OH
A woman, while walking her dogs in the city park, stepped in a trap that
was set illegally on the pathway. Since she was wearing heavy-duty hiking
boots, she sustained no injuries, however it took her husband and a friend
to remove the trap.
November, 1988: Allentown, PA
A nine-year-old boy, while playing along a river bank, fell into the river
and got his left thumb caught in a muskrat trap.
April, 1987: Miller, SD
A man, while trying to untangle his fishing line, caught his hand in a conibear
trap set for beaver. His injury required 19 stitches and later became
1986: San Bernardino, CA
A 16-year-old stepped into a steel-jaw leghold trap while hiking. He suffered
from bruising, cuts and swelling.
October, 1986: Calais, ME
A 31-year-old man, while walking his dog in the Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge,
stepped into a steel-jaw leghold trap. Because he was wearing heavy boots,
he sustained no injuries. The man was arrested for molesting a trap.
November, 1986: Coconino, AZ
A man, while rescuing his dog from a steel-jaw leghold trap, sustained severe
cuts and puncture woods to his left hand. The incident occurred in a
September, 1985: Minneapolis, MN
A 14-year-old boy stepped in a steel-jaw leghold trap which was hidden on
an embankment near some railroad tracks. He suffered major nerve and
tissue damage. He lost four toes and was in the hospital for two months
after undergoing major surgery.
1979: Mason County, MI
A young boy caught his hand in a steel-jaw leghold trap while fishing with
January, 1978: Seattle, WA
A college student stepped in a leghold trap while attempting to free his
dog caught in an adjacent trap. Extent of injury unknown.
1977: Camp Springs, MD
A four-year-old girl caught her hand in a #2 steel-jaw leghold trap set near
her home. She suffered a crush injury, disruption of the tendons of three
fingers and required reconstructive surgery. She has permanent impairment
of her fine motor skills in that hand.
1974: South Milwaukee, WI
A young boy stepped into a leghold trap that was set on public property.
He suffered only bruising, as he was wearing heavy boots.
December, 1970: Melbourne, FL
A six-year-old boy, playing in a forest park, suffered from bruising, cuts
and swelling after getting caught in a steel-jaw leghold trap.
January, 1966: Goshen, NY
A 5-year-old boy stepped into a trap set for woodchuck. He sustained bruising
and an abrasion.
1960: Clayton, OH
A man, while out walking in a wooded area, stepped into a steel-jaw leghold
trap and sustained bruises and two broken bones. If you have been a victim
of a cruel trap, please let us know of your story.
Contact us at [email protected]
For more information on trapping see:
Campaign Manager, Wildlife and Habitat Section
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037