Neighbors say traps violate law after dog nearly killed

Neighbors say traps violate law after dog nearly killed »Play Video
Melissa Higgins holds Beans who got stuck in a trap meant for nutria.

LONGVIEW, Wash. – An animal trap nearly killed a beloved pet and neighbors think the traps are violating the law.

Anywhere along the slough across from Mint Valley Golf Course you are bound to see a lot of wildlife like birds, otters and beavers. Some animals, though, are considered nuisance pests, like the nutria. One trap designed to capture that animal nearly killed a neighborhood dog.

Melissa Higgins was inside her home Tuesday when she heard an animal yelping outside. She immediately suspected it was her neighbor's dog, Beans, and found him caught in a conibear trap on the bank of the slough.

It took her, and two neighbors, a few minutes to pry the trap open and free the frightened dog.

"I love this dog a lot and to watch him look at me and he couldn't take a breath – he was choking and fighting for air," Higgins said. "And any little movement I made to try and get it off of him made it worse. And it was just – probably one of the worst things that I've ever seen. It was bad."

Beans seemed healthy and happy Wednesday.

Nutria can damage dikes, dams and river banks, and the traps were set on behalf of the Cowlitz County Diking District by a contracted professional trapper.

Neighbors say the traps are supposed to be under water but claim they found many more on dry land.

The Washington Department of Fish and Game is still investigating.

The man who set the traps didn’t return phone calls Wednesday.

A permit for the trapping job mentions the traps should be in water but it didn't say if they have to be completely submerged.

This story came to us as a news tip. If you have a story for us, email us at newstips@katu.com.