New York Proposes New Trapping Regulations

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today proposed new trapping regulations designed to reduce the chance that dogs may be caught in certain types of traps set on land. The official proposal is published in the May 30, 2007 issue of the New York State Register, available on-line at: The required 45 day public comment period will end on July 16, 2007.

DEC's proposal would regulate body-gripping type traps set on land that are five inches or larger in size. Commercially available body-gripping traps of this size are commonly called "160s" or "220s." The proposal was developed following consultations with trappers and other interested members of the public.

In prior years, a number of dogs have been caught and killed in body-gripping traps set on land. After careful review of the current trapping regulations, DEC has 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 raccoons and fisher.

DEC has proposed that these traps must be utilized in compliance with one of three options: (1) set five feet above the ground (typically, this is done via a "running pole set"); (2) set within a container which has restricted openings and other features designed to prevent a dog from entering and triggering the trap; or (3) set within a container which is fastened to a tree or post in a vertical position, has only one opening which faces the ground, and is set so that the opening is no more than six inches from the ground.

The traps that will be impacted by this proposed rule are mainly used to catch raccoons and fisher. Raccoons and fisher are smaller than most dogs and are well adapted for crawling into small holes to find food or shelter or both, and unlike dogs, these species are natural cavity dwellers.

While this proposed regulation 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, including making sure that dogs are not allowed to run at large, and obeying local leash laws where applicable.