Letter to the Editor from Shelter Our Strays, all-volunteer, non-profit group, dedicated to supporting Greenwich Animal Control by providing funds to the facility to assist with operations and various programs:
The members of the Board of Shelter Our Strays would like to express our concern over the use of leghold traps in the State of Connecticut and are asking our state legislators to implement a statewide ban.
This is not an isolated incident. Numerous accounts of the inadvertent capture of “non-targeted” animals are reported every year. This is unacceptable and demonstrates the indiscriminate nature of this device. ANY animal or person can end up in a trap, including our beloved family pets and endangered wildlife.
Cats and dogs have often been found too late to save their lives, suffering the same horrible deaths as wildlife. Broken bones and teeth and torn flesh are common, as the animal frantically fights to get away, even trying to chew off the affected limb. When to no avail, they are left to starve, freeze to death, or die of their wounds before the trappers find them.
You may recall an incident with a coyote in Riverside a few years back, whose picture was on the front page of a local newspaper wearing the leghold trap until it had to be shot by animal control. This is the grim reality of leghold traps. While padded traps may not have the steel grip, an animal suffers the same fate, as they are unable to escape.
More than 88 countries and many states, including our neighbors, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, have banned leghold traps. In addition, many groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the U.S. National Animal Control Association, have declared them inhumane. Yet they continue to be used in this state even though there are available alternatives, such as the live (box) that are just as effective, have a higher targeted rate, and are more humane for the animals and the ecosystem.
Leghold traps should be banned for no other reason than the fact that they are horrifically cruel and inhumane and no animal should be subjected to suffer such pain and anguish simply because we consider them a nuisance. This is truly unconscionable in a modern, civilized society. To have a trap set in plain view of your house and be subjected to see an animal suffering and even killed should be unacceptable to everyone.
The State of Connecticut, which traps over 6,000 animals a year, should neither be condoning such cruelty nor putting its residents, including our children, and/or our companion animals at such unnecessary risk. We should all be free to enjoy nature and our own backyards without being subjected to the horrors of leghold traps.
Finally, the two animal control officers on our Board, Allyson Halm and Suzanne Carlin, each with 20 + years experience have seen firsthand the results of the use of leghold traps. As Allyson, current Animal Control Officer in New Canaan put it, “Watching an animal struggle in a leghold trap is one of the worst acts of animal cruelty I have encountered in my career in animal welfare.”
Suzanne, Animal Control Officer at Greenwich Animal Control added, “I have never seen any positive uses from these archaic, inhumane devices. I have seen the results of raccoon’s that have chewed off their limbs and when the traps become unhinged from the ground, the animal dragging the trap, tearing at the skin and bones of their legs, suffering until they die.”
Shame on us if we allow this barbaric practice to continue. Let’s end the suffering and ban the use of leghold traps in our state once and for all.
Shelter Our Strays, Board of Directors
Leora R. Levy