Published in the Buffalo News Jan. 7, 2015
While it's a step in the right direction that the Grand Island Town Board has banned recreational trapping on George Alt Boulevard, for the protection of both wild and domestic animals the ban should be extended to all public land.
Sadly, there are many documented cases of wildlife and domestic dogs and cats losing their limbs or their lives because of legally placed leghold traps, and residents should not have to fear for the safety of their four-legged family members whenever they choose to enjoy a day at the park or just a walk down the road.
Contrary to the opinions of inexperienced trappers, leghold traps indeed shatter the bones of animals smaller than those that are targeted. Countless owls and other birds of prey fall victim to traps each year, as any wildlife rehabilitator can attest to. Leghold traps are like land mines for animals, and these relics of a more violent time have no place in a modern society that should have evolved past their use a long time ago.
Leghold traps are currently legal but the law is not a static entity; it is subject to change as society changes around it, and the time to change the town's liberal trapping laws has certainly arrived.
Grand Island need not be a dangerous place for wildlife to live and for domestic animals to enjoy an afternoon with their caregivers, and a trapping ban on all public land would make Grand Island a safer and more welcoming place for all.
Joe Miele, Wildlife Watch, Inc.