Jeff Zakus lost his dog, Molly, after she was caught in a coyote snare in the bush near his home, unable to recover from the damage to her throat. Zakus and roommate Sheldon Gray are questioning the use of these traps near a publicly accessible trail. (Image contributed)

Council says no to city snare ban after dog’s death, citing lack of municipal power

To 22-page petition from supporters of Molly’s Law, city says province, feds regulate traps

Molly’s Law will not be created by Salmon Arm Council, at least not at this time.

In May, city council received a 22-page petition which followed the death in March of a beloved dog, Molly. She had wandered some distance onto a neighbour’s property where she was caught around the neck in a snare trap intended for wildlife. By the time she was found, she was nearly dead.

Setting traps on private property is legal in B.C., with regulations stating snares cannot be located within 200 metres of a private residence and must be set by an approved trapper. Because of the 200-m restriction, snares are not common within city limits, but the deep bush behind this particular property allowed for legal snare use.

The petition requested that a bylaw be created to ban snare traps within Salmon Arm city limits. It referred to Gibsons, which has such a bylaw.

Kevin Pearson, director of development services, presented a report to council prepared by planning staff.

He said staff looked at the Gibsons bylaw and spoke with bylaw staff there. He said he believes it’s only been used once since it was adopted in 2011.

Read more: Wildlife photographer turns lens on wolves killed with neck snares

Read more: Salmon Arm man loses dog to coyote snare within city limits

Read more: B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Read more: B.C. needs to update laws to protect pets from dying in snare traps:

Read more: B.C. dog owners sues after pet killed in beaver trap

Staff also looked at provincial regulations. He noted information in council’s planning meeting package that states provincial regulations are updated continually.

“As council knows, when provincial regulations change, it’s difficult to keep up with our bylaws.”

He also pointed out that not only are there regulations, there can be federal Criminal Code offences.

The staff report concludes: “Staff does not recommend proceeding with the creation of a bylaw to regulate body-gripping animal traps. The responsibility of regulation and enforcement of animal trapping lies with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.

“Provincial Conservation Officers have the authority and expertise to manage the Wildlife Act and its regulations. A city bylaw would have no effect on legal trapping under the Wildlife Act; Conservation Officers and agricultural operators could continue to use body-gripping traps without posting notice.

“If the 200-meter distance or other aspects of the Wildlife Act regulations are deemed to be insufficient, council may want to lobby the ministry responsible for a province-wide regulatory change.”

Council members present did not discuss the report.

Mayor Alan Harrison stated that council would simply receive the report “for the time being.”


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