Commenting on Friday's post, Now in Mankato, [Tony] Cornish never left Vernon Center family farm, also lived near Squaw Lake, hunter and head of Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN John Reynolds wrote:
Cornish consistently votes against regulating lethal body grip traps that are killing our dogs. He paints it as poor trappers fighting for their heritage against antis who are trying to destroy their way of life. (Fact: our organization has never taken the position of banning trapping or even the traps that are killing dogs. Our goal is to regulate them so that dogs cannot reach them.) He recently voted against an amendment (A33) to the environment omnibus bill that would require trappers to get permission before trapping on unposted [private] land. He said our current system of allowing trappers to set traps including dog killing traps on unposted land is working well. He has also told dog owners that they need to accept their dogs being killed in recklessly set (but legal) body grip traps.
While the A33 amendment to HF888 (the Omnibus Environmental and Natural Resources Budget bill) might have failed in roll call vote in the Minnesota House after Representative Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, introduced it in the lower chamber on March 30, the proposal experience a much differ fate in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Here's the current private-property and pet-friendly language in the third engrossment of SF723:
Sec. 58. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 97B.001, is amended by adding a subdivision to read: Subd. 9. Placing traps or snares on private land; written permission required. A person may not set or place a trap or snare on private property that is not subject to a requirement to be open to the public, other than property owned or occupied by the person, unless the person has the written permission of the owner, occupant, or lessee of the private property. This subdivision includes, but is not limited to, written permission to access private property from waters of the state when the trap or snare is placed or staked in the water.
Many Minnesotans are surprised to learn that trappers are able to enter and set traps on unposted, private land, but such is the law. Unlike ethical hunters, who shoot only game animals they positively identify, trappers' tools are a bit more indiscriminate. Requiring written permission from landowners would respect property rights while letting pet owners know that traps are set on the land.
It seems like common sense, but to folks like Representative Cornish, it just seems like a PETA conspiracy. It's not.
The bills are likely conference committee bound, so we recommend readers contact their legislators, requesting that the Senate language be included in the conference report.
For background on earlier efforts to save dogs by changing policy, check out Cory Zurowski's 2016 article, How Minnesota refuses to save dogs being killed by trappers, in the City Pages.
Photo: A dog killed in a body grip (conibear) trap.
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