Newfoundland resident Lona Williams was lucky she was carrying cable cutters while walking her dog last week.
It might sound like a strange item to bring along, but after a friend warned her that there were fox snares set up in the area, she decided it was best to be prepared.
“Better to have them and not need them,” she told CBC News.
Her dog Jack loves to run, so she decided to take a chance and let him off his leash that day. She did her best to keep her eye on him, but eventually the retriever-setter mix ran out of sight. When Williams called out to him, he didn’t show up, and that’s when she feared the worst.
She rushed to find him, and sure enough there was a snare around his neck when she did.
“If anything happens to this dog, he freezes,” Williams said in an interview. If the dog had struggled, he would have choked himself.
Instead, Jack remained completely still as Williams pulled out the cable cutters she packed and snipped the trap.
Thanks to his prepared owner, Jack ran off without any injuries. But not all pooches are as lucky. Last week, a dog named Doug died after getting caught in a snare just outside Labrador’s Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and the family is still recovering from their loss.
Doug’s owner, Jaclyn Penney, told reporters that their dog wasn’t on a leash, but that she thinks pets should be able to run free in residential areas without their owners fearing they might get caught in a trap.
“We live up off the highway, on a road that doesn’t have much traffic,” Penny said. “So we do take our dog up there off-leash. Just because we know everybody up there and we never thought this would happen.”
Although Williams’ dog could have met a very similar fate, she told reporters that she’s not angry with the trapper who set the snare. She says there’s risks to living in rural areas, which is a trade-off to being able to let your dog roam free. That’s why, like Penney, she’s warning others to carry cable cutters with them as well.
With the exception of a few protected areas, there are no provincial regulations regarding where snares can or cannot be set.