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The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) is launching the Trade in Your Trap campaign, which urges people to turn in their lethal animal traps to the WHS to prevent injuries and deaths of not only wildlife but non-target victims such as dogs and cats.

Winslow, a two-year-old cat, was brought to the shelter’s clinic with severe injuries after being caught in an illegal trap in a Winnipeg neighbourhood. He is recovering well, but for others, the outcome has been fatal.

“Traps don’t discriminate. They show no mercy to wildlife or beloved pets. All animals suffer immensely when they fall victim to traps,” says Jessica Miller, CEO of the WHS, adding many animals are caught up in traps that have been long forgotten after they’ve been placed. “We encourage the public if they come across an illegal trap to contact 311. To ensure the safety of both animals and people, we also continue to advocate for clear and visible signage anywhere new traps are being set outside the city.”

Traps being accepted as part of the campaign include body grip/conibear traps – which are illegal within Winnipeg – leghold traps, snares, and other makeshift lethal traps. To incentivize trade-ins, the WHS is offering a chance to win a $200 gift card to the shelter’s pet shop.

While snap and glue traps are not part of the campaign, the WHS still classifies these as inhumane and recommends people utilize alternatives, such as properly monitored, live-release traps, for managing species classified as pests.

Traps can be dropped off at the WHS Pet Shop (45 Hurst Way) from March 27 to April 10.


What is the WHS’ position on trapping?
The WHS opposes the trapping of animals for material goods such as clothing or footwear, pest control, or for sport. Trapping of animals often results in a slow and painful death. The WHS recognizes the use of trapping for sustenance in some communities and can support this so long as the animal’s welfare and dignity are a top priority, and all measures are taken to minimize animal suffering.
How many dogs and cats are injured by traps?
The Winnipeg Humane Society sees a handful of animals brought in with injuries from traps each year.

According to a 2023 brief by The Fur-Bearers called Collateral Damage. The Unreported Victims of Wildlife Trapping: Cats and Dogs, at least 173 pets were caught in traps in Canada from 2017-2021, ranging from 26 to 43 incidents each year. This figure does not include data from Ontario, and reporting is not mandatory in any Canadian jurisdiction, so the actual number is expected to be far higher.

These numbers also do not reflect other non-target wildlife victims such as rodents, birds, rabbits, coyotes, lynx, and foxes. A March 2024 story of a cougar being caught in a leg hold trap shows just how indiscriminate traps are.

What traps are you accepting?
The WHS will accept lethal traps, including leghold traps, body grip/conibear traps, snares, and other makeshift lethal traps.

The WHS is NOT accepting snap or glue traps, but still classifies these as inhumane and recommends people utilize alternatives, such as live release traps, for managing species classified as pests.

What traps are illegal in Winnipeg?
Updates to the City of Winnipeg Responsible Pet Ownership by-law in 2022 included making the following traps and pest management illegal within the city:

• Body hold traps

• Outdoor use of glue traps

• Outdoor use of rat poison and other rodenticides

• Exemptions are in place for licensed pest control companies and governmental agencies.

For more information on these traps, along with tips to help wildlife-proof your home, please visit the City of Winnipeg’s website.

What are some humane alternatives?
The Winnipeg Humane Society encourages utilizing non-lethal methods, such as live release traps, for preventing and managing animal species classified as pests wherever possible.

Live traps should be checked daily, especially in extreme weather conditions such as heat and cold. To increase survivability, the City of Winnipeg also recommends that live-trap users release animals in their neighbourhood in a survivable green space. It’s also a good idea to wildlife-proof your home to prevent wildlife from becoming permanent residents. Animals such as raccoons, skunks, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and mice need shelter, food, and water to survive. The City of Winnipeg recommends:

• If you have gaps below a deck, porch, storage shed, or home; these spaces could provide shelter for wildlife. Fencing, lattice, wire, and patching products can be used to seal and minimize shelter opportunities for wildlife.

• Food sources such as overflowing garbage cans, improperly stored food, and birdfeeders can attract wildlife. Make sure garbage lids are secure, do not leave pet food out overnight, and keep barbecue grills clean and close their lid after use.

What will the WHS do with the traps?
The traps will be disabled and sent to scrap recycling through the 4R depots, where possible.
What about traps outside of Winnipeg?
The Province outlines legal and illegal trapping protocols, however, trapping is allowed in provincial parks.

The WHS continues to advocate for clear and visible signage anywhere traps are being set to inform the public.