Grace's Legacy


Much has happened recently (2005) in Nova Scotia (Canada) over the issues of the rights of trappers to earn a living; the responsibilities of trappers to contribute to our safety and well-being; and the rights and responsibilities of parents and pet owners.

I have underlined several comments that I find particularly sardonic/ironic. My comments are in brackets [comment from the host of this site]. I was impressed by a few salient quotes from the lengthy correspondence, and present them here.

There are reasonable voices on both "sides" of the issue of trapping. For example, read this advice for trappers from the Web site of The Trappers Association of Nova Scotia (TAPS):

"These are only a few suggestions which will help keep unwanted animals out of your traps. The point is to remember to consider the location, the potential risk of the bait and lure you are going to use, and then set the trap accordingly. Failure by furharvesters to consider using "common sense" and take the appropriate precautions, will likely result in escalating conflicts. Over time this could also bring more regulatory restrictions. Very few trappers think of the trappers who came before them, however every trapper should consider the trappers who will follow. The future of trapping rests in the hands of todays' trappers."

Did you know that in Maine they have stopped coyote snaring due to outcry.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has".
Margaret Mead

We tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.
Petronius Arbiter

OR, as they say at the Post Office, "Motion's a good substitute for Direction."

Hi all,

For anyone who doesn't know, I work at Best Friends Pet Supplies in Tantallon. Fran Cozens has now brought in the coyote snare their dog, Onya, was caught in last year, about 20 feet off the Rails to Trails (near exit 4). Luckily, they found their dog pretty fast, within a matter of minutes, and managed somehow to loosen it enough just in time to save her life. It was a close call.

We hope that having it to display, along with more info. on recent mishaps involving companion animals, will spur even more people into writing in to the government to ask for changes to the outdated trapping regulations.

[I received the next two communiqués after this that had been brewing for a while in NS. In the e-mail from Sonia Grogono, her comment about "difficult cause" and whether she has the energy shows us how difficult and taxing this effort becomes for anyone who pursues change against the massive resistance and apathy. This underlines the importance of many people working together.]

Saturday, February 12, 2005 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: traps


I sent you a message promising any support I can give re anti trapping and suggesting that you also contact Sonia Grogono, but had my message returned. I totally oppose trapping on anyone's land.

Janet Kitz.

Dear Sonia - I am sure that with your background and previous involvement with this issue you would be a great asset and resource to this newly formed working group (yet untitled) of like-minded individuals and groups. I am a doggie day care owner and operator and I am also the Atlantic Chairperson of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, an organization that advocates for responsible dog ownership regardless of breed of choice. The DLCC is in the working on a policy statement that will be issued to its membership that is Canada wide and to the press. Until recently informed, I was ignorant of this practise, suffice to say I was appalled that the rights of the few - 0.0017% of the population can control the usage of public land and private property without restrictions that would guarantee the safety of the public at large. Leg hold traps are an abomination and cause needless pain and suffering, whether it be to a companion animal or our local wildlife. As you rightly said the rise in the popularity of fur as fashion is rearing its ugly head yet again. Please consider joining our group - we are dedicated to seeing a permanent change in legislation. Sincerely, Janet Chernin

Dear Janet,

Thank you for your phone call and e-mail letters concerning trapping. All aspects of the trade are abhorrent and should be discouraged. I enclose literature from anti-trapping groups. The Canadian Association for Humane Trapping is dedicated to developing a more humane trap to cause animals a less agonizing death in the wild. At present animals sometimes chew off their own leg to escape, known in the trade as a "wring-off". However, trappers don't seem to care, the leghold trap is cheap and convenient. One humane group, I forget now which, backed off this issue when they found it affected the native people. I would like to attend your meeting, but am not sure I have the energy to start working again for such a difficult cause. Women shouldn't wear fur, that would finish the industry.

Best wishes - Sonia Grogono

I received this just recently from a friend (in Montreal):

On 940 AM news just now, a protest in Nova Scotia. SPCA was interviewed, and they said that on private land, unless you put up a sign that says "No hunting or trapping", any trapper can place traps, but not within 180 metres of a house, sports field, etc. They protested outside a fur store. Their concern is for people and pets. It seems like the momentum is there now for this issue, and that would make your timing perfect.

Animal activists protest N.S. trapping laws

Susan Aitken
Canadian Press
Sunday, February 13, 2005

HALIFAX (CP)—If you own land in Nova Scotia , you could have animal traps on your property and not even know it.

The laws governing trapping in the province are coming under fire from animal rights groups who are demanding changes to guidelines that currently allow hunters to set traps designed to kill, even on private property.

About two dozen protesters paraded outside a Halifax fur store Saturday as part of the 16th National Anti-Fur Day in an effort to end what they call an "archaic'' and "barbaric'' practice.

Among them was Janice Peters, whose pet husky dog, Storm, recently survived a night caught in a trap only a few hundred meters from her home which backs onto the Lower LaHave Commonlands near Bridgewater .

"She went out for a run and didn't come back,'' said Peters, clutching a photo of the fluffy pooch. "All I could hear was her screaming... and her snout was caught in one of these traps.''

Peters managed to save Storm but said she was appalled that there were no signs indicating that traps were in the area.

Nor, according to the provincial Wildlife Act, did there have to be one. The province's fur harvesting regulations state only that traps cannot be placed within 180 meters of "a dwelling, school, playground, athletic field or place of business.''

Outside that limit, all cultivated land, even private property is fair game for trappers who don't need the owner's permission to set their snares.

"The only way that you are protected is if you post signs on your private property saying that there is no hunting and/or trapping allowed,'' said Marni Janet of the Nova Scotia Humane Society.

"If you do not have those signs on your property, anybody can set any kind of trap on your private property.''

Barry Sabean, director of wildlife for the province's Department of Natural Resources, confirmed that a sign reading "private property" or "no trespassing" does not prohibit trappers from hunting on private property.

Without the right signage, even a land owner who finds a trap on his property outside the 180-metre limit does not have the right to tamper with it or remove it, Sabean said.

When it comes to public roadways, anyone can place a trap anywhere along a public roadway, something Dale Stone discovered in a tragic accident earlier this month.

The horseback riding instructor was riding with a student and her three-year-old dog, Bear, along a public highway in Cape Breton on Feb. 4, when something caught the dog's attention.

Within seconds, Stone says she heard a snap, and turned to see her German shepherd-border collie mix caught in a large trap just 10 metres from the road.

"I couldn't get to him fast enough to save him,'' said Stone, from her home in Big Baddeck.

The dog struggled, but was dead by the time Stone jumped from her horse and reached the trap, which had been baited with a deer carcass.

Stone said she has started a petition to get the regulations changed to keep traps well away from residential area, something that just might happen according to the natural resources official.

The department has set up a committee of trappers, trail experts and dog lovers to examine trapping guidelines.

"We're looking at the whole issue of boundaries of highways, private property, dog-proof boxes, those sorts of things.''

But Sabean said before pet owners demonize hunters, they should look closely at the regulations governing dog ownership, adding it's illegal to allow a dog to run free in a wildlife habitat.

"Trappers are taking the heat for this at this point in time but there's some reason for the dog owners to take some responsibility as well.''

Sabean said he expects to have some recommendations from the committee in about a month, and is confident there will be some changes to the regulations before next season.

Stone said those changes can't come soon enough.

"I am afraid now,'' she said. "I went around the area the next day and I found at least 25 traps right around this loop that I take my horses and dogs on.''

"The place is like a minefield out here,'' she said.

© Canadian Press 2005

[See by these next emails, how Dale Stone was harassed]

Hi Rosemary,

Thanks for forwarding this note from Dale. I think we should all drop her a line, when we can, to tell her to hang tight there. I'd like it if the papers there did a follow-up story on the repercussions she's now having.

Hi Folks

I thought you would like to read Dale Stone's email to me so you can see the level of harassment she is experiencing from DNR in Cape Breton . Rosemary

Email #1 from Dale

I have copies of some letters a lady sent me from ST. MARGRETS BAY so I am planning to send along to the big wigs. I will tell you one thing, I have the DNR office in Baddeck stirred up. I SMELL A RAT! Did you start any petitions, mine are really filling up. We also need people to report their EXPERIENCE AND COMPLAIN. Did you know that in Maine they have stopped coyote snaring due to outcry. I have a suggestion for your logo. how about P.E.T.S. meaning PURSING END of TRAPPING & SNARING. Let me know what it is.

Please keep in touch, Dale

Email #2 from Dale

Hello Rosemary,

I had a reporter from Halifax Herald yesterday to do a story, she will also want to do a follow up, very nice person. So I have made ALL papers with BEAR'S sad story, I hope his death will bring about some change. His life certainly changed many many people. I have really stirred things up in at Baddeck DNR office, I believe one of the officers who is a neighbor to be the trapper who killed BEAR. He has traps, snares all over, one of which was 189 meters from my barn which he has admitted to. One of his bosses was out to measure, he said it is legal but in his opinion was too close.

He has been kicked off many peoples property but his fellow DNR officers are protecting him. I have had visits from, one of which he said a trapper had proof I was tampering with traps. I told the officer to put the proof on the table, but he said NO NO we don't want to charge you they just want me to stop! A round about threat I would I would say. I told him I WAS NOT STOPPING until there is change to these BARBAROUS laws. Since then there has been a DNR truck driving by every day, I guess to see if my other dog is on the road so they can charge me with dog running at large or even worse they have every legal right to shoot if the mood arises.

Some laws we have in this country, our loyal and very helpful friends don't account for much in the world. I Have handed out many of your letters the voice of the people are crying to have change, and I am confident there will be.

Dale Paulette Stone.

A list of Halifax Incidents:

Head of St Margaret's Bay, Bowater land, Rosemary MacKenzie's dogs, Rosie and Samwise
Dec. 2, 2004 both caught in leghold traps. Were rescued.

Riverport. Shaun South's dog, Tuffy.
Early Dec, 2004 encountered kill trap set off public trail. Died.- Dublin Shore.

Brenda Bryenton, dog Buddy
Dublin Shore, Brenda Bryenton's dog, Buddy
Disappeared Jan 16, 2005 - spent 15 days caught in snare. Survived

Lyons Brook, Pictou County, Crystal McKenna's dog, Ben.
Late January 2005 Caught in kill trap on own property. Was rescued.

Lower LaHave (Bridgewater area) Janice Peters' dog, Storm
February 2005 caught by muzzle in trap, several hundred meters behind their home.
Was rescued.

Big Baddeck, Cape Breton. Dale Stone's dog, Bear
February 4, 2005 encountered kill trap 10 meters off roadside. Died


Well I called and found out that there are 938,134 persons residing in NS... therefore if you divide the 1630 folk who are licensed by the number of residents of NS - it would equal that the percentage is 0.00173749... NOW someone please explain to me who this can be that such an infinitesimal amount of taxpayers can obtain all the rights to lands and fields...

Thursday, February 10, 2005 12:54 PM

Well I called DNR and requested to know how many licences were given out this year... I was told there is not a limit on how many are given BUT that you must of taken a fur harvesting course... they only had the number of licences for 2003 not this season... sold were 1630... so I guess I need to find out the population of NS and then we have a figure of what percentage of folk are allowed to dominate our fields and lands...


[2005: I sent this to a couple of weeks ago, still no answer yet]


This email is to inform you about a website created two years ago when my dog got killed in a trap. One week later there was a similar incident in BC. The next year another dog was caught in a ligature trap (only 5 kilometers from where it happened to me) and survived in it for 6 days, to be released by the trapper. This past year since December I have heard of 3 more incidents, one in Long Island NY , one in BC and one in Nova Scotia , the last three incident similar to the account of what I have included below. All of these recent incidents will be included soon on Grace's website.

It seems that my purpose is to collect 'stories'. There is not much to do where the Police and Game Wardens are concerned, they are all unaccountable, and so are those who run the public trails, but I am in the process of writing to my municipality to request that they install municipal bylaws regarding trapping. At least if there are municipal laws the strong will and laws of the big machine can be bypassed in some way.

As it stands now, if a trapper has a permit they can place a trap wherever they wish. The trapping laws are antiquated laws that have not been re-examined in light of present day needs. Those who would protest do not use trapping as a livelihood.

I invite you to take a look at the site. I did send a dossier to the Justice Minister, and as yet all I got back was my police report. Much of what was in the dossier is on the website. I will be going public very soon, since people are starting to find the website and have offered their support which motivates me to continue. I was always against trapping, but like most people, just thought there was nothing to be done, and that since it was happening in the wilderness and not near the public, it didn't concern me.

Thank you for your interest,

[From Lynda in Nova Scotia:]

First, I would like to offer my most sincere condolences on the loss of your friend, Grace. I know the pain of losing a companion, though I have not lost one in the horrific way that you lost Grace.

I am, however, one of a group of people in Nova Scotia who is fighting to have trapping regulations changed. It is ridiculous that these laws have not been changed for decades! I personally think that all trapping and hunting should be abolished, but I am not foolish enough to think that this will happen any time soon. So, starting with some changes to the legislation is a small step. We are requesting the the NS Dept. of Natural Resources change the trapping laws that pertain to placement of traps and would like the traps to be identified. Here in NS, a trapper can place a trap on your private property (without permission) and it is illegal for the landowner to move it! There is also no legislation regarding hiking trails, etc. Someone in my area had their dog caught in a snare walking on a public-funded trail!

I believe that the vast majority of people DO NOT condone trapping; however, I think that most people are not aware of these laws and regulations and have no idea how dangerous that even our own property can be because of trapping. We do live in a democracy and it would seem to me that the majority should rule, not the small percentage of people who feel it necessary to perform such a cruel and unnecessary activity such as trapping.

I also agree with you on the accountability issue. When these horrific things happen, it seems that no one is accountable! Unbelievable in this day and age where we are responsible for every one of our own actions!

I really want to commend you on all of the research you have done and I know it hasn't been easy. You have done a great job on this web site!

I join you in hoping (and fighting for!) change. Take good care, Lynda

[From Annette in Nova Scotia:]

Hi Alana

I wish I could take credit for being a starter here, but to be honest I had no idea about traps or the law until I ran into Rosemary MacKenzie at best friends pet store. The same goes with the panel and meeting :(

But I can ask Matt & Shawn who started the group how they did it

We are blasting the local government with letters etc, I think as of Friday there were 400 of my animal contacts who sent them in.

Oh Rosemary knew who you were when I was speaking with her yesterday, small world hey? She mentioned Lynda as Well. I will forward any stories I have, in fact there was one in our local paper this week, I will look it up and send it. Please keep in touch, with out people like you, and the memory of Grace,I and many others would not have a clue this was/is going on. I thank you as well as my fur kids Dawber and Bubba


[…and so, this is how it all began to unfold]

Hi ya

I found your site while looking for instructions to place on my site regarding how to open the coil traps

We have had increasing number of dogs being caught in the traps, and thought it would be helpful to include this info. Some of these lovely dogs have survived but some have not. And one lady had to carry her 60 pound dog (trap and all) over an hour to the local vet to get help

We have formed a panel to change the laws here in Nova Scotia with the Department of National Resources (DNR), trappers and us on Feb. 1 is our first meeting to present our changes. I look forward to chatting with you, we will get these changes made in time.


Please forward to as many contacts on your email lists! Next email I will be sending will tell you the horrific tragic story of Rosemary and her beloved pets. What is DNR waiting for? Where are the rights of property owners to control what is placed on the land that they pay taxes? Where are the rights of those who wish to hike and enjoy nature? Lets rally together to stop this insanity! Janet

Ps I wonder if this is only in Nova Scotia or if this the policy of all DNR’s in every province.

Dog has narrow escape from trap

Owner discovers trapping laws endangered pet on her property


LYONS BROOK - Ben is a lucky dog.

The 18-month-old shepherd-duck toller cross got caught in a trap designed to break an animal's neck - and survived.

But Ben is also an unlucky dog. He was in his own backyard—albeit a quarter-hectare one—when he found the baited trap.

His owner, Crystal McKenna, let him off his leash when she entered her Lyons Brook property from a nearby trail.

She had assumed her property would be safe, she said Tuesday from her home in western Pictou County .

"There's a lot of houses where I live," she said. "It's not like it's absolutely rural."

To her surprise, she has since learned that it's perfectly legal under the Wildlife Act to set traps on someone else's property without the landowner's permission, as long as there are no signs forbidding the practice, and the traps are at least 182 metres from a dwelling, school, playground or similar site.

Ben was trapped a legal distance from the McKenna home, in a device that snapped bars over the front and back of his neck, and the top and bottom of his nose.

Ms. McKenna was able to unfasten the trap from its tether, and to carry the 25-kilogram dog, trap still attached, to help.

Her husband and a neighbour loosened the trap enough so Ben could breathe, and took him to a veterinarian.

Two weeks later, Ben still has a sore nose, and no longer wants to go for walks. In fact, he won't venture far from the McKennas' porch.

The episode was terrifying, Ms. McKenna said.

"But I learned a lot about trapping laws," she said, adding that she also learned dogs are not permitted to run loose in the woods, even on their own property.

"Now I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner because of how often we walk out there. I want everyone to know this can happen."

"It's good to let the public know," said Natural Resources Department conservation officer Derrick Sandluck, who continues to investigate the incident.

The Wildlife Act forbids dogs from running unaccompanied by their owners in wildlife habitat, regardless of who owns the property, he said.

The rule is designed to protect deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other wildlife, he added.

Landowners can post signs, including their names and telephone numbers, to forbid trapping and snaring on their property, he said. The trapper has not come forward and remains unidentified, said Mr. Sandluck.

His office gets very few reports of dogs caught in wildlife traps, and this is the first he has been called to investigate, although he has heard anecdotes about similar incidents.

While the trapper was not in contravention of the Wildlife Act, the McKennas wish he had notified them about the trap so they could have avoided it.

"The trapper might be a nice guy, but this kind of thing gives all trappers a bad name," Ms. McKenna said.

The McKennas have since posted signs prohibited trapping and snaring on their property.

DO YOU KNOW that anyone with a trapping licence (available from the Department of Natural Resources for $17.00) can place a trap or snare on your property without your permission (the only requirement is that it should be 200 yards from a dwelling, school or playground), and that if your dog or cat is caught in such a trap/snare you cannot prosecute the trapper or even know who he is.

DO YOU KNOW that anyone with a trapping license can place a trap or snare along a road, trail, or path without posting warning signs and without any restriction on the distance a trap or snare is placed from the road, trail, or path. For your information trappers can also legally place traps along and in rivers, lakes, and streams. In fact it is legal to place traps/snares anywhere without any sort of warning to the public.

DO YOU KNOW that leghold traps are still legal in Nova Scotia. The only requirement is for the trapper to check such a trap every twenty-four hours (by which time the animal will have chewed off his paw or frozen to death in agony).

DO YOU KNOW that the Department of Natural Resources response to people whose dogs have been caught in traps is that you should keep your dog on a leash at all times when walking in the woods (and your own property) during the trapping season and that you should not let your dog sniff along the sides of the path or trail. If you do and he gets caught in a trap it is quite legal and therefore your own fault.

I am asking you to write a letter to Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Natural Resources demanding changes to the regulations. To help you I have drafted up samples of letters, which you can use, and I would urge you to add your comments. You can read the regulations for yourself at / (follow the links) Acts and Regulations to Wildlife Regulations to Fur Harvesting Regulations.

Please send you letter to Richard Hurlburt, Department of Natural Resources, 3rd Floor, Founders Square, 1701 Hollis Street, P.O. Box 698, Halifax, NS B3J 2T9 .


Please also consider sending a copy to your MLA. The MLA for Timberlea-Prospect is Bill Estabrooks, NDP Caucus Office, Centennial Building, Suite 1001, 1660 Hollis Street, P.O. Box 1617, Halifax, NS B3J 2Y3. Email:

For those of you in Chester-St Margaret’s, you could send a copy to John Hamm, Office of the Premier, 7th Floor, One Government Place, 1645 Granville Street, P.O.Box 726, Halifax, NS B3J 2T3. Email:

If you wish to write your own letter you may like to consider including some or all of the following points:

The woods and trails are unsafe for the majority of the population for five months of the year because a few people have the right to place unidentified traps and snares almost anywhere they like without notice to anyone. The number of licences issued is far outnumbered by the general population who want to use the woods for harmless types of recreation such as walking with the dog and children.

We want a safe corridor of 900 metres along all roads, trails, and paths.

Trappers must have prior written permission from landowners (private, municipal, and crown) before placing traps/snares.

Traps/snares should carry the identification of the trapper so he is made accountable for them.

Traps/snares and traplines/snarelines should be clearly marked with warning signs so that people and their dogs do not walk into them by mistake.

All traps/snares should be placed in dog- and cat-proof containers.

There must be strict controls over the availability and sale of traps and snares.

There must be much stricter controls on part-time trapping and trappers.

The leghold trap must be banned.

Penalties and surveillance should be increased substantially.

Thanks for your support

Rosemary MacKenzie

67 Kingsway Drive,
Stillwater Lake, NS B3Z 1G3

On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 , Matt Durnford wrote:

Thank you Rosemary. Can you provide me with any information on the number of incidents you are aware of in your area (as broad as you wish) in the past two years or so? I do not need names just locations. I want to have as much ammunition as possible to counter the likely comment from the trapping fraternity, "The percentage of of incidents is low so it is not really a problem."


Here is our story that you asked for. There are two people Fran Cozens and Norm Schepp whose dog was caught in a snare near the Rails to Trails in this area about eighteen months ago. You may like to talk to them. Fortunately, they found their dog in time and freed her. Their number is …….. E-mail is


(The following story is similar to what happened in Morin Heights, but for 15 days instead of 6 days like Kathryn Weaver's dog.)

Beating the odds

Buddy survives snare, blizzards


(This story is like the Morin Heights snare/ligature incident in which the dog lived through 6 days, but in the following story the dog lived through 15 days in the trap)

DUBLIN SHORE — Buddy may not be able to speak for himself, but the wound that surrounds his neck tells the tale. The six-year-old mixed breed’s will to return to his owner, Brenda Bryenton, enabled him to survive 15 days and three blizzards, all while caught in a snare.

Ms Bryenton explained that on January 16 while on a daily walk with Buddy, her best friend disappeared. “There’s a huge field behind my house that’s rimmed with forest. Buddy and I went for a walk and he darted into the woods ... he didn’t come out,” said Ms Bryenton. “We weren’t very far from the house.

I started back and calling him and he didn’t come.” She said there have been times Buddy has run off but when Ms Bryenton returns home, Buddy is already there waiting for. This day, he was not sitting on the doorstep. She called her neighbours to inquire if anyone had seen him but no such luck. That night the first of three blizzards pounded the area and still there was no sign of Buddy.

Between snowstorms Ms Bryenton and friends were out looking for him. She put up posters and aired radio announcements but there was no word on his whereabouts. My hope had diminished but I hadn’t given up,” said Ms Bryenton. The last day she went out in search of Buddy was January 30.

Then, on January 31 when she returned from work, there was Buddy sitting on the back doorstep waiting for her. It felt like a miracle. He looked at me very sheepishly. He was very thin and gaunt but trembling with excitement,” said Ms Bryenton. “Then I saw this wire hanging from his neck. His fur was all matted around neck and he had a very bad odour.” Ms Bryenton discovered that the wire on his neck was a snare. Buddy, who somehow was still on his feet, got into the car and Ms Bryenton drove him to South Shore Veterinary Hospital for treatment.

Dr. Don Ellicott said the snare had imbedded in the dog’s neck and for some reason, it didn’t pull tight enough to kill the canine. “A lot of these animals, that wire would have been so tight and they would have been fighting and wrestling that it would have suffocated them because it would have pinched so tight that they wouldn’t have been able to get their breath,” said Dr. Ellicott. He added that Buddy could have been near Ms Bryenton during the times she was for him, but he wasn’t able to bark or make any noise to signal to her for help because of the snare’s compression.

The other obstacles against Buddy included starving, dehydrating or freezing to death. But the three blizzards that the area saw within one week may have in fact saved his life. “He was probably covered with snow ... and formed a little nest. He was able to eat the snow to get water,” he added, noting the dog was not dehydrated when Ms Bryenton brought him for treatment. “He’s very lucky.”

After the snare was cut from his neck, Buddy had surgery on February 1 to clean up the tissue and required stitches to keep the wound closed. Dr. Ellicott said the dog is expected to make a full recovery from the massive trauma. “These tissues and muscles that have been severed or cut into, they’ll heal, but it will take time,” said Dr. Ellicott, noting Buddy is being treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to ease his discomfort. He is also suffering from nerve damage affecting one of his eyes. But that too may heal. Looking at the canine with a wound that surrounds his entire neck, Dr. Ellicott said he does feel that snares are an inhumane way to die.

“I know there is more than one point of view,” he added. But he stressed that hunters who set them should ensure they are checked every 24 to 48 hours to minimize the animals’ suffering. Dr. Ellicott noted that hunters should also inform neighbours that they exist so when walking their pets, they can take proper precautions.

Ms Bryenton said if she had known there were snares near her home, she would not have let the dog off his leash under any circumstances. Dr. Ellicott suspected the person who set the snare that Buddy got caught in also freed the canine when he checked his trap.

Thursday, February 10, 2005 3:07 PM

Subject: trapping and the DNR

Dear Hon.John MacDonell,

My name is Janet Chernin and I am the Atlantic Chairperson of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, an organization that are advocates for responsible dog ownership. It has recently come to my attention that the Department of Natural Resources has allowed trappers and those that use leghold traps to place a trap or snare on private property, and crown land without regard to the safety of the majority of Nova Scotia 's citizenry. How can a group comprising 1630 licence holders be able to 'control' the usage and enjoyment of woodlands? Please take the time to read the story below and the correspondence I have had with a victim of said traps, Ms. Rosemary MacKenzie. Please make it the priority of the NDP to address this problem. Many Nova Scotians are using trails like Bowater and the BLT (Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea) Rails for Trails systems to enjoy nature and for recreational purposes. It is totally unacceptable that I may be putting myself, children and pets in jeopardy because I wish to exercise my right to enjoy my own province's beauty.

How is it that the onus of protection is PUT on the taxpayer of private property? How is it just that legislation requires the property owner to post every five feet around their own land that they do not allow hunters and that they must post no trespassing signage? Please help change these antiquated laws that favour the few while jeopardizing the many. At least make it mandatory that trappers must POST when and where they have placed these devices, that they MUST identify their traps with the number corresponding to the licence number issued to them from DNR. If DNR does not require these regulations then pray tell how do they monitor that the practices and placement of said traps are legal when the trappers are NOT required to inform anyone where they are trapping nor who is trapping? It is stated that trappers must check their traps every day—how is this being enforced when no one knows they are there? Please help. I look forward to your reply to this issue.


Janet Chernin
Halifax , NS B3L 1H3

Rosemary MacKenzie

My three dogs, Samwise, Rosie, and Molly are all rescues. They came to live with me in 1999, 2000, and 1998 respectively. They are all middle aged, well behaved dogs who have been to school. I retired in 2001 with a diagnosis of breast cancer. My dogs saw me through the surgery and chemotherapy treatments by their presence and by walking miles with me everyday. The countryside around my home in Tantallon is full of lovely walks if you look for them. We would go out everyday and could choose a different route each time. We tend to choose small paths and woodland areas because of the ATV problem on the main trails. These idyllic walks came to an end in December.

On December 2, 2004, we were returning from a walk down to Rafter Lake and back along the Rees River and had crossed the main logging road with the intention of following a very old logging trail back to the parking lot. We had to push through a patch of brush to get to it. This was a route we had followed numerous times before. On that beautiful Thursday, we were less than fifty feet off the logging road when Samwise, who was about ten feet in front of me, screamed. I went to investigate and found a huge trap tight around his left front ankle. Rosie was right beside me on her lead. She is part beagle and can only be walked on lead in the woods. Molly was behind me. I bent down to see where the chains on the trap went. Rosie was still easily within four feet of me by then. Suddenly she screamed. There was another trap hidden in the leaves. I was lucky I hadn't caught my hand in it because it would have been very difficult for me to help the dogs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open the traps and eventually had to unravel the chains and carry each dog with the trap to the edge of the logging road. I tried to call 911 without success but did reach my vet, Frances Bail, and gave my location before I lost her. I left my two dogs in a down stay by the side of the logging road, they were very quiet, now in shock, and ran up the hill with Molly to fetch the car. When I returned to the spot where I left Samwise and Rosie, I lifted each of them over the rocks and into the car. Samwise is a 70 lb dog, and Rosie is 50 lbs. I drove them to my vet missing the rescue party which she had valiantly sent out to find us. At the vet, we managed to remove the traps from two very swollen ankles. Fortunately, nothing was broken. Dr Bail advised rest for ten days which we followed. The lameness and swelling went down in two to three days.

The staff at the St Margaret‚s Bay Animal Hospital called the Department of Natural Resources. The Conservation Officer, I spoke to, Jim O'Melia, said he didn’t know whether or not the traps were legal or if they were placed legally. I, like any reasonable person, was quite sure that both the traps (leghold traps have been banned in places like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, etc.) and location (on private land very near the Bowater Hiking Trail) were illegal. Later, I learned that both were legal. In fact, it was inferred that I was walking my dogs in a very odd place and that I should stay on the trails and not let them even sniff along the edge of the trail.

When I read the Regulations governing the Harvesting of Fur Bearing animals I was shocked at how lax and irresponsible these regulations were. I have since started a movement to get significant changes to the regulations and to make the trappers much more accountable. According to the statistics from the Department of Natural Resources very few trapping licences are actually issued each year. In 1999-2000, 1468 licences were issued, a decrease of 10.9% on the preceding year. This means that we are handing over our beautiful woodlands to a very small group of people who want to scatter unidentified and unmarked traps through them—like landmines—and thereby keep the majority of us out of the woods for more than five months of the year. This is wholly unacceptable in the Twenty-first Century. There are many, many more people than trappers who want to walk in the woods to keep themselves and their dogs fit. In these days of increasing health care costs, keeping fit is the best way to stay healthy and walking with one's dog(s) is the most effective way of doing this.

Shortly after my dogs got in the traps, a dog at Riverport was killed in a body trap placed by a trail used by his owners, Shawn and Kerry South, and many other dog walkers. Shawn contacted his MLA who is the Minister of Justice, someone called Baker, and Hurlburt, the DNR Minister. Shawn was invited to be a member of the committee reviewing the regulations but since he is away Matt Durnford took his place.

This committee met last Tuesday in Kentville for six hours. I talked to Matt Durnford on Wednesday night and from what he said I believe very little has been accomplished. This committee has seven people, five of whom are really not interested in changing the rules. Matt Durnford and Jim Vance, NS Trails Federation are the only two wanting the status quo changed. According to Matt, the other members of the committee proposed a 90 foot safe corridor along registered trails—that is 15 yards from the middle of the trail on each side.

They spent two hours disputing the issue of prior written permission for trapping on private property but nothing was resolved. The issue of marking and identifying traps was met with opposition from the President of the NS Trappers Association, Paul Tufts (who was formerly a biologist with DNR!!!) on grounds that trappers would steal each others traps and set them illegally, etc.

The chair of this committee is Mike O'Brien, Manager, Wildlife Research, Kentville, 679-6221, or 679-6091 (this may be his direct line). According to Matt Durnford, there may not be any more meetings and O'Brien is writing up proposals on the strength of the one meeting. He is is supposed to circulate these to the other members of the committee for comment, etc.

[The working group is just about to be born.]

Rosemary, Lynda, Annette, I received the awaited report from the meeting of the Trapping Working Group this morning. I am not happy with the report, it is a total preservation of the status quo. Look at the attachment, it is a letter I sent to the chairman of the group after the meeting. I did not want to send it out until I received the "official report" from DNR. I am forwarding my email I sent to the Minister of Natural Resources on the subject this morning. Hopefully he will "take his boys aside" and get something going.

I would like to wait a bit longer before going to the media, both you folks and Shawn and I. I have asked (demanded) a second meeting in an email to Mike O'Brien, the chair (he wants to solve the issues on a conference call). I can't imagine nine people who disagree on all issues solving anything on a conference call. If he will not call a second meeting I will advise you, then we hit the media.

Meanwhile can you connect with people and ask them to TELEPHONE the minister's office. We know that they will not get to speak to the Minister but when asked for their number to "have someone get back to you" ask them to give their number and state, "I am calling about the trapping issue". If enough people call it will register and get their attention.

Wed, 23 Feb 2005 13:18:27

Subject: Trapping Working Group

Dear Minister Hurlburt,

My name is Matt Durnford. I am a friend of Shawn and Kerry South who lost their dog "Tuffy" to a trappers trap just before Christmas last year. The South's corresponded with you via email on 8 Dec and 13 Dec. 2004. Your email of Tuesday Dec 21, 2004 stated that you had directed that a working group be set up to "examine this issue and, by the end of February 2005, develop recommendations on possible regulation changes and other appropriate actions that might be considered by the Department to improve this situation".

Unfortunately, Shawn South, whom you invited to be part of the working group, was unable to attend the first meeting of the group. Due to his father's terminal illness, he was required to be in Montana, USA for several weeks to attend to his father's affairs. I attended the first meeting in his stead.

Mike O'Brien of your Department chaired the meeting. The meeting was attended by:

Mike O'Brien, DNR, Chairman

Michael Boudreau, DNR

Kerry Miller, enforcement, DNR

Paul Tufts, President, Nova Scotia Trappers Association

George Boyd, Ex DNR, dog trainer

Jim Vance, NS Trails Federation

Myself, Matt Durnford, Public Representative

Willy Versteeg, farmer

Brian Purcell, trapper

The working group met on 1 Feb, 2005 for six hours. I do not believe that the results of the meeting met your intentions in establishing the working group. Shawn South's emails of 8 Dec and 13 Dec made reference to permission, tagging and safety. I have to presume, that, in establishing the working group, you intended that there be changes to the regulations in these areas to satisfy the public concern expressed. The first meeting was a total failure in respect of these goals. I have attached my letter to Mike O'Brien regarding the first meeting.

I have just received (23 Feb. 2005) the "Notes from NSDNR Trap/Dog Issues Working Group" produced by Mike O'Brien as a result of the meeting on 1 Feb. 2005 . I am no more impressed with the content of the notes than I was with the meeting. I do not see a desire on the part of the DNR staff of the Trappers Association to alter the status quo in any significant way.

Shawn South and I have discussed this issue with your colleague, Hon. Michael Baker, who expressed total support for change to the current regulations in particular as regards to a requirement for permission to trap on private land. The Hon. Carolyn Boliver-Getson supports the changes we have proposed and she has indicated that she has corresponded with you on this issue. The Council of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg has corresponded with you and expressed their strong support for change.

I am not satisfied with the willingness of your department's staff to think progressively. The public wants change, your staff and the trappers want the status quo. This issue has widespread public support. On Sat 29 Jan 2005 the Chronicle Herald poll, "The Daily Buzz", asked the question, "Should it be legal to set traps on someone else's property without the landowners permission?" A total of 1,974 votes were cast: 164 (8%) said yes; 1,810 (92%) said NO. I am sure that your office has received hundreds, if not thousands, of letters, emails and faxes on this issue.

At the conclusion of the first meeting it was decided to await the report of the 1 Feb. 2005 meeting to decide on the requirement for a second meeting. A conference call has been proposed. I cannot see how a conference call involving nine people could possibly produce positive results. A second and perhaps more meetings are required before recommendations can be presented to you.

At this juncture I believe the process would benefit from additional guidance from your office.

Yours Truly, Matt Durnford

Hi Janet,

I agree, Sabean's attitude is patronizing and does make one feel sick. (And as if being on one's private property, in the case of some of the dogs & cats caught in traps/snares, is a wildlife habitat the owner was disrespectful of ... grrrr.) Also, he implies the plural in 'dog lovers' sitting on the committee when, to the best of our knowledge, there's only Matt Durnford. And we're not sure he's a very avid 'dog lover'. It would feel more fair if there was a better balance with more representation for the people concerned for their dogs and cats.

Thank you for forwarding this.


Okay—I feel sick about the following statement from the below article:

"But Sabean said before pet owners demonize hunters, they should look closely at the regulations governing dog ownership, adding it's illegal to allow a dog to run free in a wildlife habitat. "Trappers are taking the heat for this at this point in time but there's some reason for the dog owners to take some responsibility as well.''

Great!!! I had intended to get in touch with Pets Atlantic as well... the last issue had a nice article about someone who enjoys snow-shoeing with their dog running alongside... sounds idyllic, but only in a perfect world where there are no traps and snares!

I hope that whatever attention this stuff gets in the media, the private property (which is not so private if a person has a trap!) business will be stressed.... most people are unaware of this law and when they are told, they are outraged... can't imagine there would be many who would stand up for such a ridiculous law!

Subject: media

I plan to re-call the Herald Newsroom and query their interest on this issue. I also though heard back from Pets Atlantic who are very interested in doing a story for their magazine. Dirk van Loon the editor was very keen—told me they were having a meeting yesterday of the editorial staff—I suggested that as they only publish quarterly that this should be in the fall issue—he also mentioned something about another publication that goes to the rural municipalities and this would be good for them.

Will keep you posted on this.

PS have their been anymore updates on incidents????


Hello all,

I wanted to say I was very surprised and delighted when Tim made the offer to create a website for our group, and immediately thought too of linking it to Alana's very powerful and moving site (which is for Tim and Slavka to visit, if they like) as well as ARC and other animal sites.

(I too like the name PETS best of the suggestions to date.)

February 18, 2005 5:37 PM

Subject: WEBSITE


Lynn just called me to inform me that Tim and his partner Slavka (sorry if I have misspelled your name) are willing to set up a website for this cause... I do believe that some of you may know these folk! I have not had the pleasure of meeting them but I am tres happy camper right now—this will be a long fight I am afraid as the trapping lobby is already established and quite strong. Combined with the necessity to work on a political level—I just hope we can apply enough pressure for the politicians to realize that catering to the few is not 'fruitful' for them.


Aside: Hello Tim and Slavka—my name is Janet Chernin and I am a doggie day care owner and operator. I also in home board kennel free in my home. I am the Atlantic Chairperson for the Dog Legislation Council of Canada. I am new to this issue, and am so pleased to be a member of this working group to help fight this battle. Please feel free to call me anytime at 422-0515. We have been trying to think of a name for our working group—some suggestions so far have been: PETS

People Encouraging Trapping Safety
Pursuing End of Trapping and Snaring

[ …this is how the victory was won—through all the runaround, they didn’t stop]

Good for you! Lynda is right—private property and trails. Also you can express your outrage on the fact that these people can place their traps virtually anywhere without permission, without warning signs, and ordinary people and their dogs can just walk right into them. Traps are very dangerous not just to dogs, and why they can be laid about like landmines is prehistoric.

The DNR Committee which is meeting to review the trapping regulations is not changing anything. It is loaded up with pro-trappers including DNR.

One thing to focus on is that the trapping regulations are there to protect the public not the trapper. Unfortunately they protect the trapper far more than the public.

Hi Rosemary,

Thanks for sending me a copy of Matt Durnford's letters to Richard Hurlburt & Mike O'Brien. It sounds like he is doing his best now to fight the very uneven composition of the committee, and—hopefully—the many letters, from the public, which the DNR must have received, added to the media coverage on recent trapping mishaps, will force the group to meet again with a much more progressive agenda.


Friday, March 04, 2005 3:42 PM

Subject: RE: Traps

Hi Annette,

I did speak to Janet Charin and another lady there last week. Marnie Gent knows us well.

Suggest you might find some useful information on our website ( We also suggest you obtain some leg-hold traps (used) from a weekend auction or the Buy & Sell etc, and learn to set them. Try to obtain a Number 3 sized "padded" or "soft catch" leg-hold trap (as they are misleadingly called). This is the trap the fur trade tries to pass off as "more humane"—it is NOT. Then you can show and demonstrate it for others, and possibly the MLAs, etc.

Teach others how to release cats and dogs from both Leg-Hold traps and the Conibears ("body-holding" traps, as the trappers call them).

I've asked Janet to send a copy of the trapping regulations there to me.

Can you show any of our trapping videos? (Freely borrowed at any time).

The number of animals trapped in Nova Scotia has fallen from 65,000 animals per year in 1980 down to 35,000 the latest year, as people have learned about the cruelty involved and oppose it. Many other provinces have dropped much further, even up to 80-90%.

I hope this gives you a good start. Let us know if you have any particular questions we can help with.

Yours truly,

George V. Clements
Fur-Bearer Defenders
3727 Renfrew Street
Vancouver, BC V5M 3L7
Phone: 604-435-1850
Fax: 604-435-1840

Hello Everyone

Matt asked me to pass this on. He is not getting any response form Hurlburt.

Please read the letter below.


Rosemary MacKenzie

Mon, 07 Mar 2005 13:37:15

Subject: Fwd: Trapping Working Group

Hi Rosemary, Lynda, Annette,

I sent this email to the Minister today. I am getting concerned that the silence is deliberate. I did not wish to blame the Minister for the delay (YET). I hope I get a response to this email. As you can see it has also gone to two other cabinet ministers from the South Shore.


Mon, 07 Mar 2005 13:31:01

Subject: Trapping Working Group

Dear Minister Hurlburt,

On 23 February 05 I sent you an email expressing my concerns about the progress, or lack of same, being made by the Trapping Working Group you had established. I received an acknowledgement of receipt of the email but as yet have had no reply to my concerns. I sent an email to Mike O'Brien, the chair of the working group, on the same date. He has yet to respond to my request for a status report on the group or to advise me of the date of the next meeting. The working group was to report to you by the end of February 05, that time is well past.

I am growing concerned that the lack of communication from the Mike O'Brien may indicate that your staff have decided that this problem is best resolved by ignoring it in the hope that the call for changes will fade out with time. You were very responsive in establishing the working group after the incident with the South's dog. I am sure your intentions were to address the issue and to implement solutions. I would appreciate an update on the status of the working group and assurance that this issue is still a priority with your Department.

Yours truly,

Matt Durnford

Hello again

Here is the response I got from Hurlburt's office to the letter I sent last week. The letter is included in the response.


Rosemary MacKenzie

Tue, 01 Mar 2005 13:08:58

Subject: Re: Committee to Review the Trapping Regulations

Dear Ms. Mackenzie:

This will acknowledge receipt of your email. It will be brought to Minister Hurlburt's attention.

Yours truly,

Carolyn de Gier
Secretary to the Minister
Department of Natural Resources

Rosemary Mackenzie

Mr Hurlburt,

I have heard from Matt Durnford who is on the above Committee. After a six hour meeting, nothing was changed in the trapping regulations and the DNR personnel have refused to have another meeting to discuss the issues.

I do not pay taxes to allow a small minority of individuals (around 1600) keep me and my dogs out of the woods because of the irresponsibility of the regulations. The trapping regulations should protect the public NOT the interests of the trappers.

I am concerned about the treatment of Dale Stone by DNR and am Requesting you send me a copy by email of your conflict of interest policy for your department. Please send it as a Word or WordPerfect file.

Thank you

Rosemary MacKenzie

March 11, 2005 2:32 PM

Subject: Premier's Correspondence #021405045

Ms. Janet Chernin

Email Address:

Dear Ms. Chernin:

On behalf of Premier John Hamm, thank you for your email outlining your concerns regarding various aspects of the regulation of the use of traps in the capture of wildlife species in Nova Scotia.

Hunting and trapping are long-standing, traditional activities in rural Nova Scotia. This includes not only harvest for fur, but also for protection against damage to crops, property, pets, livestock, and humans in situations where wildlife has come in conflict with human interests. In the regulation and management of these activities, my Department seeks to recognize the need to maintain practical tools and methods for humanely capturing furbearers. Concurrently, we seek to maintain a reasonable level of opportunity and safety for other recreational users (including those accompanied by their hunting dogs or other companion animals) of our woodlands and wildlife habitats.

Department staff have recently coordinated a working group to review the issue of conflicts between those involved in the use of traps, dogs and dog owners, and other recreational users of our wildlife habitats.

The concerns you have raised have been presented and referred for consideration by the working group. I have been advised the working group has had an opportunity to examine the various aspects of this issue, and will provide recommendations on appropriate actions that may be considered by my Department.

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and opinions on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Underwood, Deputy Minister

for/ Richard Hurlburt
Minister of Natural Resources

cc: Honourable John F. Hamm

Hi Janet,

The same old form letter that we all received! Sort of queer, though, that the letter still mentions how your concerns will be forwarded to the working group to consider when they make their recommendations... I was under the impression that the meeting (of the so-called working group) took place quite a few weeks ago!

Obviously, they are taking our letters very seriously—NOT!

Lynda Corkum
Administrative Secretary
Law & Technology Institute
Dalhousie Law School


Here is a message from Matt Durnford. I suggest we all write again AND also write to the newspapers. For those of us in the zone of The Masthead News, here is the email address, the Chronicle Herald is I haven't found the email for the Daily News editorial section.

I quite agree with Matt that this is a probably a stalling strategy on Behalf of DNR because the trapping season, thank god, will soon be over.

However, I do think we have them cornered to some extent and should indeed prevail if we keep the letters flowing in.

Thanks everyone

Rosemary MacKenzie

Please forward to all

March 12, 2005 1:35 PM

Subject: [NSDogs] important!!!!!

Just got back from B & R Pet Supplies and a lady was there with a Great Dane who had JUST GOTTEN CAUGHT IN A SNARE AT ASHBURNE GOLF COURSE!! Luckily, there were three people with the Dane and they got the snare off without damage. I saw the snare and it looked old and rusty. This is the course close to B & R in case I've misspelled the name. The lady had cut her hand, but the Dane was OK. She was so thankful there were two other people with her. Venus asked me to post to all lists I'm on. Please cross post so no other dog gets hurt.

Norma Reid

[I was sitting here in Quebec , and expressed to the group in Nova Scotia my disappointment at the lack of headway I had made, and received these emails.]

Hi Alana

I think the difference in Nova Scotia is that a few people have read the trapping regulations here and have started to disseminate about their archaic nature. Most people I have talked to do not know that trappers can place traps on private property without permission, and along trails, roads and paths without any safe corridor. This is shocking people and politicians, by the way. Our Min. of DNR has had hundreds of letters on the trapping issue AND the house sits in a few weeks. Things ARE going to change in Nova Scotia.

Rosemary MacKenzie

Hi Alana,

Yes, you're right about how there is now a strong network, here in N.S., of enraged and active animal lovers, due to all the trapping incidents that have occurred recently. It started out with just 3 of us here, and it has snowballed and gained momentum in the past few weeks.

I imagine you must have felt very desolate and shell-shocked going through all the strong emotions after Grace's death, and it must have been very hard taking on the system there all by yourself basically.

You deserve a lot of credit and many kudos for the fight you've put up and all the work you did (and do now) to learn more about the trapping industry, and especially for the incredible website you created to honor Grace and educate others!!! Your site really evoked strong emotions for me when I visited it & that had a lot to do with how much you opened yourself and shared what the nightmare experience was like.

I've been glad to have 'met' you (so to speak, in this medium) as you're an inspiration to us here. And it is so good to be able to 'work' together and all share information and support as best we can.

I'm sorry that the newspaper editors always want fresh stories—if they'll do coverage of more recent incidents in Quebec, then I'll hope they will also tell Grace's story at the same time to give the issue more impact and to re-enforce that this has been going on for way too long.

Take care,


[Thanks to these women, Lynda, Janet, Annette, Lynn and Rosemary, and their not putting up with the lack of action, the following has come about. On May 2 nd I sent this follow-up letter to my mayor here in Quebec]

Dear Mr. Mayor Vadeboncoeur

Since the time that I sent the letter requesting a meeting with the council (February 2005), there have been 8 repeated incidents of companion animals caught in traps, 6 in Nova Scotia, as well the one I sent to you that happened in New York, and also in BC. All winter I received cc'd copies of all the communication and emails that were generated by these events. I watched the same shocked reactions from the public, and the same lack of reaction and indifference by the authorities as happened here in Quebec. I know that this is old news here and that those I contacted regarding this issue just waited till time passed hoping that all would be forgotten.

It was very frustrating for me to sit here and watch while other mature adults in Nova Scotia were being given the same excuses and run-around as I was, two years ago. I have all their emails and letters of protest collected in one document. We cannot believe that this is happening and that the authorities do not consider it necessary to do anything about it. I was wondering about your opinion on this, and what we could start to do about it.

Below is the most recent email I received from Nova Scotia, in response to how I was beginning to notice the futility in following up and trying to do something (here in Quebec) about the irresponsible actions on the part of trappers.

Thanking you in advance for taking my request seriously, and for reading the emails that I recently received, Alana Hoffer


Your email was forwarded to me from Melanie at Waternymph Kennels. There are many individuals, members of a number of groups, who are now inundating Hurlburt's mail and email box with the letter you received. We are mostly in the Annapolis Valley, but through email we are sending out this message far and wide, like yourselves. Our MLA, Stephen McNeil is very supportive. We knew that this matter was being discussed and a decision was coming soon, but didn't know about the working group. I'll ring you tomorrow (Monday) to discuss this further.


Friday, April 08, 2005 1:41 PM

Subject: Traps


Your letter is excellent. I and several other people have been circulating information and draft letters similar to yours through Best Friends, House of Dogs and several other venues. Hurlburt has hundreds, probably thousands of letters on his desk by now.

His working group should be reporting by the end of this month. If nothing substantive is accomplished we should raise a long loud voice. Matt Durnford is on this committee representing the Souths whose dog was killed in a trap in December. He is the only person on it asking for changes. There seems to exist a conflict of interest within DNR. Some of the personnel seem very close to the trappers.

I am interested to know who you are. Can you identify yourself?



[All this was included in the follow up letter to my Mayor]


Wednesday, May 4, 2005 The Halifax Herald Limited

Trapper training needed, MLA says

The province should educate Nova Scotians about common practices during wildlife trapping season, a Liberal MLA says.

Victoria-The Lakes MLA Gerald Sampson introduced a private member's bill to create an education campaign. It would also require trappers to tag their traps so it will be clear who owns them.

Mr. Sampson said he is introducing the bill after hearing from people whose pets were killed by traps.

"It's important to educate people who don't trap, themselves, to avoid accidents whenever possible," he said in a news release.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 12:32 PM

Subject: Liberal bill

To All:

Here is the Liberal Bill re: article in CH today

Private Member's Bill

Wildlife Act (amended)

Gerald Sampson

Victoria -The Lakes

First Reading : May 3, 2005

(Explanatory Notes)

Second Reading :

Third Reading :

Explanatory Notes

Clause 1

(a) requires the Minister of Natural Resources to provide notice of the trapping season;

(b) sets out when and how notice is to be provided.

Clause 2 adds regulation-making authority with respect to notice and to provide an identification system for traps.

An Act to Amend Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Wildlife Act Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 Subsection 39(1) of Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Wildlife Act, is amended by adding immediately after subsection (1) the following subsection:

(1A) The Minister shall provide notice to the public of the open season for the taking of wildlife in the Province.

(1B) Notice under subsection (1A)

  1. shall be provided before, during and at the end of the open season for the taking of wildlife; and (b) may be provided by newspaper, radio, or any other means. 2 Subsection 113(1) of Chapter 504, as amended by Chapter 9 of the Acts of 1993, Chapters 8 and 25 of the Acts of 1995-96, Chapter 11 of the Acts of 1998 and Chapter 46 of the Acts of 2001, is further amended by adding immediately after clause (x) the following clauses:

  2. (xa) respecting notice to the public of the open season for the taking of wildlife; (xb) respecting a tagging system to identify the ownership of traps;

(Finally, upon receiving this news, I sent it to my Mayor and Deputy, with a new optimism, that these same changes to the existing laws might soon occur in Quebec , and eventually, in all provinces)

(Due to the great determination of these women, I won’t be deterred by the fact that 12,000 signatures were ignored as mentioned in the first web-link below.)

Check out the “Correspondence” link on that site (

You’ll see the letters that this organization sent to their equivalent of DNR in Quebec and the response that they got from the Minister. And they had over 12,000 signatures!!!!!!! SIGH…..

Sunday, May 08, 2005 8:50 AM

Subject: Trapping Regs Update 05/08/2005

To core "forwarders" of this e-coalition: You are the ones who can forward to many like-minded individuals (whether members of groups or not) via email. This has been very effective in getting large numbers of emails/letters to Minister Hurlburt. Being strategy, this update should probably be selectively forwarded to other "forwarders". We'll do an Alert/update to be forwarded shortly. Thanks!

The great news! that DNR "blinked" by bowing to public pressure to not delist any of the sanctuaries/wildlife mgt. areas means we must put even more pressure on DNR to get changes to the Fur Harvesting (Trapping) Regulations. As with sanctuaries, in our estimation, DNR received thousands of emails and letters on changing the regs. Both the NDP Caucus office and Stephen McNeil's (Liberal, Annapolis) office have requested the numbers of correspondence received on this issue. We believe that this will increase pressure on the Minister as he now knows that eventually he won't be able to hide these numbers. As usual, it may have to be FOIPOPed. A Liberal bill (#183) was introduced to require DNR to provide public notice of when the trapping season is and some form of tagging (ID's). It is very disappointing as it omits permission by property owners to let trappers set traps on private property, set-back from roads and trails and its call for tagging is vague.

BTW, Dale Stone, whose dog Bear was killed in a trap and the main reason for his bill, was ultimately very disappointed with her MLA, Gerald Sampson. Apparently, he started out being quite supportive but ended up caving in prior to actually introducing his bill. Expect an NDP bill to be presented as early as tomorrow, Monday. Hopefully, it will address our concerns. We will forward the NDP bill to you asap. While both of these bills may not make it past a second/third reading, they are raising the visibility of the issue and consequently "the heat" on government and DNR. There will be an article on companion animals killed or injured by traps in The Regional, an insert (reaching perhaps 25,000+) in all Annapolis Valley weekly newspapers on May 10th. It may also be in other papers owned by the same company, OptiPress and possibly be available online (will inform). Minister Hurlburt, Barry Sabean, head of DNR's Wildlife Div. and Matt Durnford, the only member representing owners of companion animals on the "working group" established by DNR to make recommendations to the Minister are all queried.

Not surprisingly, this "working group" is composed of mostly DNR and ex-DNR members (seven of the nine members). It met only once (in early February before our campaign began) and few changes have been made at present. A second meeting is being requested by Matt. Unfortunately for us and perhaps a delaying strategy for DNR is the short time remaining to make changes to the regs. for 2005-6 due to a printing deadline, probably July 1. In Summary, we must keep the pressure on by supporting those parts of opposition bills with which we agree and by getting more media attention. The immediate goal is to get a second meeting of this working group to make recommendations to the Minister that address our concerns. It should no longer be able to work in the shadows. However, never underestimate DNR, so, if there's no success getting a second meeting and further changes made, then, a second email campaign is essential. Any suggestions from you will be much appreciated.

Thanks again for your help in getting this information out.

Steve, your e-coordinator

This list, from the summer of 2005, summarizes what has changed, what has not changed, and what changes are still needed:

  1. Existing regulations already state that traps may not be set on cultivated land without permission of the owner or occupier unless a box trap or submarine trap is used and that a person may not trap on private forest land without permission if the owner has posted signs which prohibit trapping without permission.

    No change in this regulation.

    Trappers must get written permission or should at least give notice to landowners before setting traps as they are leaving unattended, hidden and dangerous equipment on private property. Requiring a landowner to post signs, which is costly and labour intensive, takes the responsibility off the trapper.
  2. It is now illegal to set most traps within 15 metres of the travelled portion of a public road or a publicly operated walking trail.

    This is a new regulation.

    The distance must be at least 30 meters (100 feet) as it is with hunters. All traps, except box and submarine, must be included. The wording, "travelled portion" is too vague and potentially unenforceable.
  3. Dogs in wildlife habitat must be under the control and in the sight of their owners or handlers unless they are being used for hunting as allowed under the Wildlife Act and regulations.

    This increases the responsibility on the dog owner and underscores the need for increased set-backs.
  4. Traps may not be set within 274 metres/825 feet (previously 182 metres/550 feet) of a dwelling, school, playground, athletic field or place of business without permission of the owner or occupier or the written authorization of a conservation officer for the purposes of trapping nuisance wildlife. This is not necessary if a box trap or submarine trap is used.

    This set back must be 800 meters/ one half mile. Children and dogs many times go further than this.
  5. By Oct. 15, 2006, all traps must be marked by the trapper's unique identification number.

    This will only determine who owns a trap. There must be an easily identifiable flagging/marking system for traps. Otherwise, they will still be "landmines in the woods". Traps must not only have a trapper's ID number, but, also, a specific trap number, as a trapper may have hundreds of traps.

[Incident in Michigan, USA]

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Local hunter seeks info in death of dog killed in illegal snare

By JANE NORDBERG, Gazette Writer

CHASSELL - Matt Kiilunen is an angry man.
Kiilunen, an avid hunter, lost his rare Bernese Swiss hound, Shiela, to an illegal snare Nov. 30.

The Chassell sportsman has offered a reward for any knowledge regarding the device.

Kiilunen said he placed Shiela and two other hounds, Libby and Aina, in an enclosed running pen Nov. 29 on his 14-acre property near Big Traverse. When he returned later in the evening, he found the pen empty and evidence a coyote had dug into the pen.

"The spoils were outside of the fence," Kiilunen said. "I knew the dogs were smart enough to get out of the same hole the coyote had dug to get in."

Although all of the dogs had tracking collars, Kiilunen found that he had charged the directional finder with the incorrect charger. As he traveled towards Gay, the batteries in the finder went dead.

"My biggest fear was that the dogs would be eaten by wolves," he said. "I never leave my dogs out, but I had no choice. I was never going to find them in that big bush."

After charging the finder overnight, Kiilunen resumed his search the next morning. While traveling on Coal Dock Road toward Gay, Shiela crossed the road in front of him. Libby and Aina followed, and responded to Kiilunen's requests to get into the truck.

Intending to cut Shiela off at the Gay-Lake Linden Road, Kiilunen continued on, but the directional finder indicated Shiela was back in the area he had just left.

"I heard barking in the distance, and knew she couldn't be more than a hundred yards from me," Kiilunen said. "Then the barking changed to a more muffled cry. That is when she was suffocating."

When Kiilunen found the dog, she had been killed in a conibear-type trap, designed to choke a coyote in a wire lasso. Although she was already dead, he said, she was still warm.

Although snare trapping is legal in Michigan, the trap in question was illegal on a number of counts. The snare was placed outside of the legal coyote trapping season of Jan. 1 through March 1, and was set on commercial forest land. Snares are only legal on private land, according to the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide, which delineates Department of Natural Resources regulations.

The snare also failed to contain a breakaway locking system, or any identification as to its owner.

Matt Eberly, a Michigan DNR conservation officer, inspected the device on-site and tagged it for evidence. The incident remains under investigation.

Kiilunen is offering a $1,000 reward through the Keweenaw County Sheriff's Office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the trapper who set the snare. Sheriff Ron Lahti informed Kiilunen recently that although people have responded to the request, they are more concerned about the way trappers have been portrayed.

"Technically, a snare without any identification is a poacher, not a legitimate trapper," Kiilunen said.

Having hunted moose, rabbit and waterfowl in both the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, Kiilunen admits to a variety of hunting techniques. But there are those who don't follow the same rules, he said.

"At least when I hunt, I bring back something I'm going to eat," he said. "I'm not just out there shooting and letting something rot, or just the sport of watching it die."

Kiilunen said he understands the majority of trappers adhere to regulations, but the use of snares and conibear-type traps is inhumane, he said, because the animal slowly suffocates until the trapper arrives to club it to its death.


Jane Nordberg/Daily Mining Gazette

Matt Kiilunen attends to his two rare Bernese Swiss hounds, Aina and Libby, at his Chassell property Tuesday. Kiilunen's other hound, Shiela, of the same breed, was killed in an illegal coyote snare last month.

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