A cat found in a leg-hold trap within International Falls’ city limits should serve as a reminder to pet owners and trappers, local officials said.
A cat was found Jan. 31 on the 1600 block of Fourth Avenue East after it was caught in a leg-hold trap, said Cindy Meyer with Borderland Humane Society.
The cat, with its leg still in the trap, crawled below a porch, where residents found it. The cat was euthanized because of its injuries. The owner of the cat is unknown.
Meyer and BHS President Nikki Turenne said the incident should be a reminder to pet owners that their companions could be injured if left outside on their own. And, they noted, pet owners should attach identification to pets’ collars.
Turenne called the incident alarming.
“It’s not our specialty,” she said of pets caught in traps intended for wild animals. “I’ve never known those existed in town. I am not sure what the person who put the trap out there was trying to trap. Usually traps are tied to something, and this cat dragged it along with it for a few days. It was pretty awful, really.”
Minnesota Department of Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson said he’s unaware of the city’s rules on traps within city limits.
He said nuisance animals, such as skunks and racoons, have been live trapped in the city in the past.
“I would like to know what they were trapping,” he said of the trap owner. “Trappers have to adhere to regulations, like checking the trap regularly according to law and also to have identification on their traps.”
Kittelson said he wished BHS would have contacted him immediately so he could investigate. He said he’d also like to know whether any city laws or ordinances govern trapping.
City officials said they were unaware of whether there are any laws on the books about traps in the city limits, but were checking.
Kittelson said he understands how people may be upset by the incident, but said most trappers follow the rules and do not want to accidentally trap someone’s pet.
“We have a fair amount of people who don’t like trapping, but if trappers are doing everything legal it’s part of their right, and is no different than hunting and fishing.”
He said new laws on cubby-set traps are intended to avoid the accidental trapping of pets.
“There is not a trapper out there that likes to catch cats and dogs,” he said, adding that many trappers have companion pets. “They are not targeting them, and everybody has a bad feeling if they do catch a dog.”
Turenne said she hopes that reporting the incident to the public can educate pet owners and trappers.
“It’s legal, and people do it, and we all have to be cautious about it,” she said. “I hope the people that set the trap are cautious about the community’s animals and pet owners are aware so they don’t just let their animals run.”