Also seek info on traps, how to release pets: 'There is no penalty for putting your traps in places that are highly used by the public.'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon residents who enjoy activities like hiking or biking say they have encountered steel traps near trailheads, campgrounds and public areas. Some have reported their pets were caught in them.
While they are legal, with restrictions on area placement, several people told NewsChannel 21 they believe there should be more restrictions in public areas, as well as better education on how traps work and how to free animals they are not intended to capture.
A Bend woman told NewsChannel 21 her dog recently was caught in a steel trap set off of China Hat Road. She says the trap blindsided them, because it was covered in feathers and leaves.
"Trappers have no liability or accountability for if something were to happen," Kelly Brown said. "If a dog gets in their trap, there is no penalty for that. There is no penalty for putting your traps in places that are highly used by the public. There's no law that says they have to put up signs to warn you, so you can make that choice whether or not to have your dogs in that area."
The trap was reported to authorities, and Oregon State Police determined it was legally set in the area.
In 2019, OSP said it received 59 total trapping-related calls.
Brown, like others who talked to NewsChannel 21, feels there should be more regulations for traps set on heavily used public lands, at least within city limits.
A woman named Sarah said her dog, Vela, was recently caught in a trap off of the Powerlines trail. She said though only blood was drawn, Vela is still shaken up by the experience.
An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife official said there are a variety of steel traps set on both dry land and in water to trap fur-bearing animals.
Some of the common traps you might encounter are long spring foot hold traps and coil spring foot hold traps. These traps have metal pieces or springs on each side, which are considered the "ears" of the trap.
Pat Matthews, a district wildlife biologist for ODFW, said you have to collapse them, to release the tension on the traps and free an animal.
"If a person had a pet that was caught in one of these foot hold traps, the best way would be for them to stand on the spring of the trap," Matthews said. "Or use their body weight to release the tension on the jaws, so they can remove the foot of the animal."
Traps on state or federal lands must be set at least 50 feet from any public trail and 300 feet from any public campground or picnic area. They also must be at least 500 feet from wildlife undercrossings, like the one under Highway 97 south of Bend.
More information: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/small_game/