Municipality of Sioux Lookout, Sioux Lookout Area Fur Managers Council reminding people to keep pets leashed while walking in rural areas
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is reminding people to keep their pets leashed while walking in more rural areas of the municipality where trap lines may have been set up.
The Municipality shared on social media on Oct. 26, “It is always important to keep your dog on a leash, and it is a requirement of the Municipality’s Animal Control By-law. It is especially important, this time of year, for those who walk your dogs in more rural areas, to keep them leashed, as we have a number of trap lines in and around Sioux Lookout, and an unsuspecting pet may easily get trapped. This sad occurrence has happened once already this fall – so, please, keep your pets on a leash whenever walking for their safety.”
The Municipal By-law Enforcement Department/Animal Control Division shared, “We have been noticing a number of social media posts by local trappers, who have installed signage along their trap lines to warn the public of their existence, but some people seem to be ignoring those warning signs. The Municipality intends to provide this reminder to the public each fall, in an effort to ensure the safety of those walking in trap line areas.”
They mentioned that trapping starts at this time of the year, with most trappers having already set out their traps by mid-October, until springtime. The By-law Enforcement Department/Animal Control Division added that trapping is governed by the Provincial Government, via the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, with respect to permissible types of traps and snares.
President of Sioux Lookout Area Fur Managers Council, Tyler Gordon said, “People have to understand that for any trapper, the last things they want to do is catch a pet. It’s an awful feeling.” He added that there are no restrictions on setting traps closer to town. The By-law Enforcement Department/Animal Control Division shared, “We also recognize how much people’s pets mean to them and their families, and we want to do our part to keep them safe. That is why it’s important for the public to know about and understand that there are dangers with not keeping your pet on a leash while outdoors. Remember trappers use meat as bait and dogs can smell that a long ways away.”
Gordon said, “Most people aren’t aware, trapping is what founded North America. Nobody would be here if it wasn’t for the fur trade.” He added that in today’s age, trapping isn’t essentially aimed at making money. “Most trappers will tell you they don’t make profit. It’s more of a keeping the tradition, the heritage alive kind of deal.” He shared that North America is one of the highest regulated areas for trapping, with proper management of land. Gordon said that if these animals are not harvested, it opens gates for possible spread of diseases, resulting from the overpopulation of these animals and breeding of parasites. “So the best way to manage them is to harvest them and keep their numbers in check.”
Gordon said that incidents of pets getting trapped are not very common in Sioux Lookout, and that “majority of them don’t end up being fatalities.” He said that dogs are curious animals, and they love to run. “Not everyone is going to have the training capacity of a dog trainer but there are ways to limit it.” He said having a command over your dogs and not letting them out of sight is the best solution. However, it is always safe and recommended to keep your dogs and other pets on a leash to avoid accidents with trap lines. Gordon added that knowing your walking areas and the trap lines around is always beneficial.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry mentions on the Government of Ontario’s website that licensed trapping is highly regulated and provides cultural and economic benefits to many communities in Ontario. It adds that trapping plays an important role in humanely removing animals that impact communities, crops or livestock. The website shares, “It’s an offence under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 for a dog owner in Ontario to allow their dog to run at large in an area usually occupied by game wildlife, such as forested lands and woodlots.”
According to the Sioux Lookout Area Fur Managers Council’s Facebook page, it is a local group of trappers providing education and nuisance animal control services to the Sioux Lookout and surrounding area. “We are elected Fur Managers who promote the conservation and propagation of Canadian fur bearers, and other natural resources. We aim to host social gatherings to educate the general public of the tradition and necessity of trapping. The Council also provides opportunity for education in humane and productive trapping techniques to all its members. The Council also acts as a liaison between trappers and any legislative bodies.”