DWR investigating report of illegal coyote traps after pet dogs snared

Composite image, with inset showing dog trapped in illegal snare on June 6, 2021, photo courtesy of Dane Stults. Background photo shows property in the area near 3400 North and 4100 West, where traps were found, Cedar City, Utah, June 8, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Authorities are looking for a person suspected of illegally setting multiple coyote snares on rural property west of Cedar City.

Landowner Dane Stults, who resides near 3400 North and 4100 West, told Cedar City News he was woken up Sunday by a call from the Iron County Sheriff’s Office saying that one of his dogs had been caught in a snare that had been set on a fence at the edge of his property.

A passerby had noticed the trapped animal and called 911, Stults said, adding that the dog wasn’t seriously injured.

It was the second such incident that’s happened recently, Stults said, adding that another one of the family’s dogs was caught in similar fashion last month. 

In that incident, the dog sustained an injury to her paw and needed to be taken to a veterinarian, Stults said. “She still limps a little bit, but she’s fine.”

“I don’t know if the person wants a pair of coyote ears or hates our dogs,” Stults said in a Facebook post, referencing the $50 bounty that is paid for coyote kills. “But the fact that it was on our property really makes us mad. It could easily have been one of the horse’s legs.”

Stults said sheriff’s deputies walked the fence line of the property and found one additional snare trap.

Dog trapped in illegal snare trap near Cedar City, Utah, June 6, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Dane Stults, St. George News / Cedar City News

Stults told Cedar City News that while it’s not uncommon for ranchers in the area to set such traps for coyotes, most do so responsibly. 

“You know, they tag them, and they don’t put it on their neighbor’s fence,” he said. “If they do need to put it on the neighbor’s fence, usually a rancher will tell the neighbor, ‘Hey, I put a snare on your fence.’”

Sgt. Brandon White of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said setting snares to trap coyotes “is a perfectly legal thing to do if they’re doing it right.”

“It’s a good thing that people are putting out snares to protect their property,” White told Cedar City News. “It’s just got to be done in the right way.”

In order for a snare trap to be legal, White said it has to have the following:

  • A tag showing the trap ID number, which is registered with the DWR.
  • A breakaway device, essentially a coiled wire attached to the snare allowing larger non-target species to safely pull themselves free.
  • The trap is supposed to be checked at least every four days, or 96 hours.

White didn’t comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation, but he did say Wednesday that the division is following up on a few leads.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the DWR’s UTIP poaching hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or the Cedar City DWR office at 435-865-6100.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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