Manitoba has suspended all trapping in Grand Beach Provincial Park after a six-year-old Rottweiler was killed by a trap near a public hiking trail.
Jim Duncan, the director of Manitoba's wildlife branch, said the province has suspended all trapping in Grand Beach Provincial Park until the investigation into the death of Rob Shura's dog, Pippin, is complete. The Province will also conduct a broader review of all trapping in provincial parks and crown lands that have high recreation use, particularly in parks used year-round by families and pets.
The move comes the day after Shura called for a ban on trapping in provincial parks. On Nov. 22, he and his two dogs were out for their usual walk in Grand Beach Provincial when Pippin let out a yelp about nine metres from a hiking trail.
Shura, 45, said he rushed over to find Pippin's head caught in a Conibear 220 — a metal trap used to kill animals such as raccoons, badgers, foxes and beavers.
"It was just horrifying. I immediately rushed to her and I tried to pry it off with my hands. I couldn't budge it. I tried to press the springs with my hands and I couldn't," he said on Sunday. "It just took a few minutes and I was trying desperately to get her out, but I couldn't."
Duncan said the trap that killed Pippin appears to have been a legal trap, though departmental staff are still trying to find the trapper to determine if they hold a valid licence. He said Manitoba's provincial parks are places that are meant to be enjoyed by families, and the department wants to ensure the safety of people and pets.
Duncan said the trapping review will begin immediately, and provincial staff will work with the Manitoba Trappers Association to help identify options to reduce risk.
"The bottom line is it's just a tragic event and no one wants to see this happen," he said.
Shura said he was hysterical when Pippin died in his arms, and he sat and wept in the snow next to her for a long time. Eventually, Shura untied the trap that was attached to a tree with a cable and carried Pippin's lifeless body out of the woods.
Shura contacted RCMP, who in turn reported the incident to Manitoba Conservation.
He said he was stunned when a conservation officer told him trapping is permitted in many provincial parks.
"I really think that the ministry is negligent and incompetent in this situation," Shura said. "They have not protected the public. They haven't notified the public of potential danger."
Shura said he has started a Facebook page in Pippin's honour and is urging people to contact their MLA and Premier Greg Selinger to push for a ban on trapping in provincial parks.
According to Manitoba Conservation's website, trappers must obtain a licence and only set humane traps in areas where trapping is permitted. Trapping is prohibited in wildlife refuges and certain provincial parks, including Birds Hill, Beaudry and Pembina Valley provincial parks, unless an individual has a special permit.
Shura said his other dog, Mary, did not eat for days following Pippin's death, and the loss has devastated his family. Shura grew up on a farm and used to hunt, but said he has never witnessed something so gruesome.