Illegal traps catching stray pets near Red Hill

February 2, 2019
Illegal traps have been found on Red Hill and in the surrounding area and have caught a cat and a dog, officials said.

POCATELLO -- A couple of stray pets have fallen victim to traps that were illegally placed on the Idaho State University campus in the vicinity of Red Hill, according to city and campus officials.

ISU spokesman Stuart Summers said a hiker discovered a domestic cat caught in a foot trap along Red Hill at about 10:45 a.m. between the Schubert Heights and McIntosh Manor student housing complexes.

The hiker reportedly heard the cat’s yowling and found it well off any path. Summers said the hiker found a second trap and disengaged it. After ISU Public Safety received the hiker’s call, the university contacted Pocatello Animal Control, which sent an officer.

The officer freed the cat, which hid in a nearby burrow where it couldn’t be reached, said Animal Shelter Director Danielle Garcia. She said the cat did not appear to be injured.

The 4-inch spring traps that were removed have no teeth and are used for catching varmints, Garcia said. They are illegal within city limits.

Another city official said a dog was caught in a similar trap in the cemetery below Red Hill last month. He said a pet owner had been looking for the dog, and the trap had fractured its foot.

The traps have been admitted into evidence and all had serial numbers, which could be used to trace them back to an owner if the traps were registered, as required by law. City sources say they are pursuing possible leads.

ISU requested the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s assistance in checking Red Hill and the surrounding area for traps. Fish and Game spokeswoman Jennifer Jackson said some officers went to campus to conduct a search on Friday afternoon.

Jackson emphasized that the traps were not placed on campus by Fish and Game, as some people have speculated on social media.

“Trapping is illegal in city limits,” Jackson said. “If the city or ISU would like the department’s help in investigating this, we’re here to help in any way we can.”

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