Please beware of traps that can harm people and pets – Coyote trapping season in Michigan is year-round

Leg hold trapAnn Arbor, MI (November 21, 2016) – Responding to a Milan police call on Friday, November 18, 2016 for assistance with a dog stuck in a steel-jaw leg hold trap, rescue officers from the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) arrived to the scene of a seriously injured coyote whose leg was immobilized in the trap. After providing aide to the injured animal, an officer’s own foot was caught in a another hidden trap.

In Michigan, steel-jaw leg hold traps, and “instant kill” or Conibear/body-gripping traps are legal with tagged, licensed identification, though their use has created controversy.

Last fur trapping season, a dog in Grand Rapids walked, in pain, with a trap on his leg to a home to seek help.

In the US, more than 4 million animals are caught, injured and killed in traps every year, but this number does not include non-target animals incidentally harmed or killed.

HSHV cautions the public that trapping/hunting season for coyotes is now legal year-round and to beware of hidden traps that could harm wandering pets and children. While the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages fur harvesters to be careful where they set traps so that they will not attract or catch pets and other domestic animals, they also recognize traps can catch non-target species and provide information on how to release dogs from some non-lethal traps on their website:,4570,7-153-10363_10880-171089–,00.html

Steel-jaw leg hold traps such as that found on the coyote, slam a metal bar with powerful force against the animal’s paw or limb. Animals often wait hours or days in them suffering from fractured bone, waiting for the furrier to return to bludgeon them to save their pelt. When trappers don’t return quickly, the animals often die of dehydration, blood loss or predation. Some trapped animals even chew off their own limbs to escape on three legs.

“We are vehemently against leg hold traps,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, CEO and President of HSHV.  They are instruments that cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and we on many occasions over the years have seen animals, including dogs and cats, that have been seriously injured by them. Last year, New Jersey outlawed leg hold traps, considering them cruel and unnecessary and not in line with how citizens wanted to see innocent animals treated.  We can only hope Michigan will one day see the light and take a step to prevent needless animal suffering.”

Steel-jaw leg hold traps are banned in nearly 85 countries and have been declared “inhumane” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the National Animal Control Association and the World Veterinary Organization.


About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and on our annual report (