CHARLOTTETOWN—Animal Justice, a national animal law advocacy organization, is renewing its call for a ban on trapping and snaring in Prince Edward Island after yet another heartbreaking death of a companion animal. This time, a Great Pyrenees dog named Caspie was strangled to death in a snare set illegally on private property where she lived.
PEI’s trapping industry has long been under fire due to a shocking number of deaths of companion animals. Animal Justice first met with the Environment Minister in 2016, seeking a ban or restrictions on trapping. Unfortunately, little action has been taken, and provincial laws remain lax and heavily biased in favour of trappers. Nowhere is safe—dogs are regularly killed in traps and snares on their own property, within city limits, and even on public trails on Crown land.
“Caspie’s tragic yet preventable death is the latest in a long string of companion animals being viciously killed by traps and snares in PEI,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “PEI is the most densely populated province, and it’s clear that trapping and snaring poses a major threat to animals and people in the province. It’s completely unacceptable that animals are at constant risk of being brutally strangled or crushed to death simply because special interest groups are able to secretly place these dangerous traps all over communities.”
PEI also allows traps to be set as near to residential homes as trappers wish, while snares can be set a mere 200 metres away. Devices can be set inside city limits. Trappers are under no obligation to report the location of their traps and snares or post warning signs—leaving pets at constant risk of being killed and injured, and leaving owners in constant fear. In November 2022, a two-year old husky mix named Emma was killed in a baited snare, set just off a trail where she was walking with her guardian in Charlottetown.
Surprisingly, it’s not an offence under the Wildlife Conservation Act to set traps on private property without permission, so the individual who set the snare that killed Caspie near her home is facing a mere trespassing charge. If he is convicted, the court has no authority to revoke his trapping license.
Trapping is a niche activity carried out by a dwindling number of people. In 2016 there were only 130 registered trappers, representing less than 0.0008 percent of the provincial population. This number is likely now even lower, given that PEI animal pelt exports have reached an all-time low in recent years, dropping by nearly half since then. This decrease reflects the global decline of the fur industry, as consumers move even more toward fur-free fashion.