The area near Powderface Trail where a dog was killed by a snare Nov. 30 was closed to trapping at the time, Sustainable Resource Development officials said Monday.
Snare traps are not allowed in Management Unit 406 – which includes Powderface Trail near Elbow Falls – from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, said SRD spokesman Darcy Whiteside, with the maximum punishment for trapping out of season a $100,000 fine and two years in jail.
Ed Thomas, 75, and his wife Lorna, 71, were walking their dogs – Ben, an Alaskan malamute, and Sarah, a small mixed-breed – in the area Nov. 30 when Ben suddenly disappeared.
The couple found their dog dead the next morning with a snare cinched around its neck.
After cutting the dog free, the couple led conservation officers to the spot and said they later ran into a man in a white pickup truck – who Ed said admitted to setting the snare – and passed his licence plate on to authorities.
Whiteside confirmed Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating, but could not comment on the specifics of the case or whether any suspects have been identified.
Trapping is more common than people might think, said Whiteside, noting there are 1,500 registered trappers in the province, most of them in the northern half.
There are currently no rules requiring signs be put up to warn people of trap lines in an area, something Ed said needs to change.
“If they had signs up, people wouldn’t take their dogs in there,” he said.
“Even if they’re in there legally or not, they shouldn’t be setting traps while people it as a recreational area.”
SRD Minister Mel Knight weighed in on the issue, saying a balance has to be found between those who use outdoor areas for pleasure and those who use it for their livelihood.
“One of the issues this points out is there is a tremendous amount of activity on the landscape,” he said.
“Trapping is a livelihood that is recognized and is legal and at this time of the year trapping is open.
“I do realize that pet owners, and specifically dog owners would find some of these areas advantageous because they feel they can release (their dogs) so they can go out and get a good run.
“I do feel sympathy for these people and their pet and we will investigate.”
reprinted from Calgary Sun