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Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Who's to blame for Maggie's death? What you said

A trap that was set to kill invasive nutria like the one shown here wound up killing a Gresham family's dog. There was plenty of blame to go around in readers' reactions to last week's story.

A trap that was set to kill invasive nutria like the one shown here wound up killing a Gresham family's dog. There was plenty of blame to go around in readers' reactions to last week's story.

Thanks for your comments on last week’s story about the Gresham dog that died in a wildlife trap set for invasive nutria.

There were some divergent reactions and opinions on who (or what) is to blame for Maggie’s death. Was it the dog’s owners? The federal government? The lethal trap? The invasive nutria? Here’s what you said:

Some people who posted comments thought the dog’s owners were at fault for letting Maggie loose outside their yard.

Virginia Reel wrote:

“Very sad for the owner.  But, it is always safer for your pets to keep them on a leash and then you also know when you need to clean up after them.”

And Scott wrote:

“$50,000 in damages for Fido who shouldn’t have been off a leash and off the family’s property in the first place?  This is just another example of the widespread trend to anthropomorphize family pets and elevate domesticated animals to unreasonable rights and values. The criticism here should be directed at this family’s abuse of our legal system, and myopic, selfish disregard of the greater good.”

Others blamed U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services for setting lethal traps.

Jack wrote:

“There is no defense or justification for the sheer negligence and stupidity exercised by Wildlife Services that senselessly killed a beautiful dog and broke many hearts.  This outrageous incident demonstrates flagrant irresponsibility and the very real danger posed by this agency.”

Although no one came out and said it in quite these terms, I think I picked up on some guilt being assigned to the invasive nutria, too.

Brendan White wrote:

“Why was the dog running on public land? Traps may be barbaric, indiscriminate, and cruel, but the damage done by invasive species is worse.”**

And Scott wrote:

“What shocks me from this story is that we already have Nutria invading the environment of the Pacific Northwest.  This should be the news lead.  Are Oregonians aware of how horribly destructive these South American native rats can be to our ecosystem?  They’ve been devastating to the land and other wild species in the Southeastern US. Apparently the USDA Wildlife Service has been successful in eradicating them in California, but I had no idea they were here.  We should strongly support the governments effort’s to control these invasive vermin.”

And some blame went to “barbaric” traps and people who use them:

Snobr9 wrote:

“I feel so bad for this poor dog and her owners.   But i feel bad for ANY animal that gets caught in a trap.   A wolf does not have less pain receptors in its body than a dog  just because it doesn’t have a bond with a human.  Wolves in Idaho are being killed right now in  choking snare traps and leghold traps.   This barbaric action must be stopped !”

And Vincentk70 wrote:

“Just more reason why trapping should be outlawed especially on public land. People do not realize the danger of these contraptions and the amount of non target animals that falls prey to them. Trappers are not an elite well trained group of people. Rather the opposite. Traps are indiscriminate tools for killing. It is only a matter of time before a child loses a limb or get poisoned by colorful poison traps.”

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