POCATELLO Idaho – The family of a teenage boy sprayed by a cyanide explosive that killed their dog is outraged they weren’t told the device was planted near their home.
Part of the job of the federal government is to protect landowners, farmers and people in general from dangerous animals that may threaten livestock or even attack humans.
How the government protects Americans from these animals has been called into question after a family dog in Pocatello, Idaho, was killed by a device used by the Department of Agriculture, the East Idaho News reported.
While out walking close to their home, a 14-year-old boy Canyon Mansfield and 3-year-old Labrador Casey came across a peculiar object on the ground. Curious as to what it was, Mansfield went to pick it up, and the spring-loaded bomb went off.
Frightened and covered in a foreign orange powder, Mansfield was knocked back, and Casey laid nearly lifeless on the ground. The teen watched helplessly as the dog’s eyes became glossy and he started to have a seizure. Casey died shortly after.
“I see this little pipe that looked like a sprinkler sticking out of the ground,” Mansfield told the newspaper. “I go over and touch it. Then it makes a pop sound and it spews orange gas everywhere.”
What Mansfield touched was actually a device called an M-44. M-44s are spring-activated devices that release cyanide when they are activated through upward pressure or pulling. The US Department of Agriculture uses the devices to control coyotes and other predators.
“We didn’t know anything about it. No neighborhood notifications and our local authorities didn’t know anything about them,” Mark Mansfield, Canyon’s father, explained. “The sheriff deputies who went up there didn’t even know what a cyanide bomb was.”
The Mansfields have lived in their home nearly 10 years and have never seen M-44s in their neighborhood. They say the one triggered Thursday was planted on the borderline of their property.
“We weren’t aware, and nobody told us,” Theresa said. “There was nothing posted up on the hill saying to beware or be careful.”
The Mansfields said, as of Friday, nobody from the US Department of Agriculture has contacted them to apologize for what happened. They wonder if other explosives may be hidden in the hills surrounding their home.
“If you plant bombs by our house, just tell us,” Canyon said. “By the grace of God I’m still alive.”
USDA Wildlife Services (cute name for an agency whose mission is killing wild animals) is not new, it’s just that most folks don’t know about it. Outdoor enthusiasts of many (but not all) stripes have been fighting to stop this agency for many years. Do you think cyanide bombs are the best way to control predators?