Animal-welfare activists say a proposed revision of Oregon's furbearer trapping rules provides no new safeguards for people and pets despite a number of pets being injured in traps last winter.

Animal-welfare activists say a proposed revision of Oregon's furbearer trapping rules provides no new safeguards for people and pets despite a number of pets being injured in traps last winter.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended no alterations to Oregon's trap-check frequency rules and no new requirements that trappers place large signs warning of traps' presence or that their telephone numbers appear on every trap as requested by petitioners.

In its recommendation, the agency did propose new rules that traps must be at least 50 feet away from public trails. That is half of what activists requested.

The draft recommendations also call for no traps to be set within 100 yards of designated trailheads, campgrounds and picnic areas.

The draft defines public trails as trails 50 inches wide or less and maintained by any government agency. It specifically exempts roads and waterways from the trapping requirements.

It also includes a caveat that the ODFW can exempt trappers from the rules, a move animal activists see as taking any teeth out of the proposal.

"It's astonishing to me, aggravating," says Jack Williamson of West Linn, one of the petitioners of the so-called Kieri's Law, named for his dog, which died after being caught in a trap last winter.

"It gives the ODFW wide and sole discretion on where to set traps," Williamson says. "Anything, anywhere that's authorized is fair game. They'd be better off not (changing) anything."

Ron Anglin, the ODFW's Wildlife Division administrator, said that language was added to give leeway for the ODFW to authorize, for instance, trapping of nuisance bears in Forest Service campgrounds. He says he expects such exemptions to be rare.

"It's just the recognition there may be times and places where trapping would be appropriate," Anglin says.

The draft proposal was scheduled to be considered June 7 in Salem by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The seven-member commission will hear one more round of public testimony on the issue before a scheduled vote. If any changes are adopted, they would go into effect July 1, Anglin says.

Williamson and others in March petitioned the commission to stiffen what they see as lax trapping laws. The commission denied the request but asked the ODFW to review the petitioners' proposal.

The groups want trappers to stay farther than 100 feet from trails on public land and post clearly visible warning signs next to their traps.

They also want trappers to check traps and snares every 24 hours, and to require trappers to affix their names and telephone numbers to every trap. The petition exempted trappers of gophers, moles, mountain beavers, rats and mice on property owned by the person setting the traps.

The groups say Oregon's roughly 1,200 licensed trappers put people, pets and other non-target animals at an unreasonable risk.

Current rules have check times that vary from 48 hours for furbearer traps set on public land to 30 days for lethal traps set for predators on private property.

ODFW recommends no changes to check times, citing hardships for trappers and reduced abilities to trap nuisance animals. It will stick with current rules set in 2004 after lengthy debates within a trap-check working group.

The draft also states that the current system of numbering traps so ODFW biologists and Oregon State Police troopers can identify the trapper is adequate. Using telephone numbers would not lead to any law-enforcement improvements but would open trappers to possible harassment, the draft states.

The ODFW also recommends that Oregon remain with the vast majority of states in not requiring that traps be marked so the public knows they are there. Those opposed to posting signs have expressed concerns the signs would lead to trap thefts and disturbances, the draft states.

Williamson says Kieri, an 8-year-old Wheaten terrier, was recently euthanized following injuries she suffered in a trap set at the state-run Wizard Falls Hatchery. He says the trap was set by a teenager with the authorization of an ODFW employee, so the new rules would not have saved his dog.

"What would I have gotten from this? Nothing," Williamson says.

Anglin says the teenager asked if he could set a trap on the hatchery's grounds and was told by an employee there that there was no prohibition of it.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at