Hay River woman speaks out over trapping in town after dog caught

ENR says trapping is permitted in wooded areas within town limits, and that dogs should be kept on leash. The Town of Hay River does not have any bylaws prohibiting trapping in town.

The dog was caught in a 'heavy-gauged wire snare' off a popular trail

The trails in the 553 neighbourhood are a popular spot for walking dogs. Last week a dog was caught in a baited snare just off the trail, and ENR says setting traps in the area is perfectly legal. (Jimmy Thomson/CBC)

A Hay River woman is warning dog owners about letting dogs off leash after a dog was caught in a baited snare over the weekend. The snare was off a popular dog walking trail in the 553 neighbourhood. 

The dog's owner did not wish to talk for fear of reprisal, but Bonnie Dawson is speaking for her. 

"Her dog had gotten caught in a heavy-gauged wire snare that went around its neck," she says.

"It tightened; luckily she was able to free her dog using her fingers to get the snare undone. That snare was baited, and not far from that snare there was a second baited snare with a heavy-gauge wire. This was along where people walk their dogs."
Bonnie Dawson says trapping should not be allowed within town limits – or at least that areas with traps should be clearly marked. (Jimmy Thomson/CBC)

While Dawson believes in peoples' right to trap, she says it should be done away from people and their pets.

"Doing it within town limits, close to people's properties and public properties that are consistently used, personally I find that unacceptable," she says.

"It's dangerous. The snare, I was told, was big enough it could have caught a child."

Hay River mayor Brad Mapes says there is no bylaw against setting snares in town, and that as far as he knows no communities have such bylaws.

Under Environment and Natural Resources rules, trapping is permitted in wooded areas within town limits, and one ENR officer said the trails where the dog was caught were in fact originally built for trapping.

It is an offence to disarm traps. 

Dawson says the area should at least be marked. 

"The area should be marked with warning signs, that snares are in place," she says. 

"Have a fluorescent can of paint and spray a tree, or put a sign or a pole saying 'snares-beware,' and have them clearly marked."

In 2015, a dog was killed in Hay River within 50 metres of its home by an old trap.

A spokeperson for ENR says pets should be kept on leashes.


Jimmy Thomson is a former reporter for CBC North.