New York DEC Releases Emergency Trapping Regulations

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued emergency regulations that will help reduce or eliminate the capture or killing of pets in body-gripping traps. New York's 2007-08 trapping season opens on Oct. 25 in most areas of the state and the restrictions will apply to the setting and use of body-gripping traps.

In recent years, a few dogs have regrettably been caught and killed in body-gripping traps set on public or private lands. These types of traps are mainly used to catch animals such as raccoon and fisher. After careful review of the current trapping regulations, DEC determined that additional regulation is needed to minimize the chance that dogs will inadvertently be caught in these traps, while maintaining their effectiveness in catching targeted animals.

DEC provided an original proposed rulemaking for public review on May 30, 2007, to restrict the type, setting, and use of body-gripping traps. Many comments were received from trappers, dog owners, and other concerned citizens during the public comment period. As a result of this input, the Department made significant revisions to the original proposal and will be providing a second comment period to obtain additional public input before making these regulations final. The revised proposal will be published in the New York State Register - - on Oct. 3, starting a 30-day public comment period that closes Nov. 2.

In the interim, DEC has adopted the proposed regulations on an emergency basis, effective today, Sept. 13. The emergency regulations and proposed regulations include additional designs for body-gripping traps set in dog-resistant containers used with baits; contains restrictions on body-gripping traps set without the use of baits in so-called "blind run sets"; and requires a new setback restriction for body-gripping traps set on public lands near trails. Body-gripping traps will be prohibited on public lands within 100 feet of public trails.

At their annual convention in Herkimer County, the New York State Trappers Association (NYSTA) unanimously passed a resolution calling on trappers to voluntarily and immediately adopt measures similar to the Department's proposed regulation to avoid the capture of dogs.

Following the adoption of their resolution, David Leibig, President of NYSTA, stated: "Today we have a regulatory proposal that I believe will ensure the continued responsible use of these important tools, body-gripping traps, throughout New York, and I am pleased to announce that the NYSTA Board of Directors has unanimously voted to fully support the language of the proposed regulation."

DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis applauded NYSTA's proactive policy. "NYSTA is to be commended for supporting this important regulation and for calling on their membership to adopt measures immediately to prevent the capture of dogs. The methods in DEC's revised proposal will significantly improve trapping selectivity in New York and we believe that having the measures in effect for the upcoming trapping seasons is an important and responsible action needed to avoid the capture of pets. "

While this emergency regulation and proposal is considered an important improvement to New York's trapping regulations, it is also important that members of the public recognize that dog ownership brings important responsibilities. With trapping season approaching, pet owners are reminded to make sure that dogs are not allowed to run at large, and to obey local leash laws where applicable.

The emergency regulations are posted on the DEC website. Details of the revised proposed regulation and a link for submitting comments electronically will also available on approximately Oct. 3.

Public comments may also be submitted in writing to:

Gordon R. Batcheller
NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-4754