Safe Trails
Danger: Trapping Ahead

Dangers to Companion Animals

cat with amputated leg

Imagine going for a pleasant walk in the woods with your dog when, suddenly, SNAP! and "Yelp!" You look down and see that your little buddy's caught in a trap, which perhaps has punctured his fur, broken his bones, killed him immediately or, worse than even that, inflicted fatal injuries that will cause your dog to suffer horribly until his last breath.

Each year thousands of non-targeted animals, including domestic animals and protected wildlife species, are caught in traps set throughout the United States. We maintain an online database of reported incidents of non-targeted animals who have been trapped, and either killed or suffered from crushed limbs and broken bones. But our database represents only the tip of the iceberg, as most cases go unreported.

While most people think leghold traps (also commonly known as the steel-jawed leghold traps) are banned in the United States, they are not. These and other types of traps are widely used to catch animals for their fur. Because they snap shut on any animal who triggers them, these traps frequently capture family dogs and cats, as well as wild birds and mammals.

We repeatedly see situations where unsuspecting hikers and others go to trails or parks with their dogs and traps are located along the trails or just off the paths, but there is no sign or other warning. That endangers not only dogs, but also puts adults and children at risk — from the contraptions themselves, but also from witnessing frightened, suffering trapped animals.

This site was developed to help hikers, campers, walkers and anyone enjoying the outdoors to learn more about trapping and what you can do to keep your animals, your children and yourself safe from trapping dangers. We have developed a list of things you can do to help keep your animals safe, as well as how to release your animal from a trap, should that catastrophe occur. We hope it doesn't! And instead you find safe and happy trails.