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by Allan Van Wert

Being a former National Audubon Society member, this letter was difficult to write. However, the resulting problems in the neighborhoods and communities all across Massachusetts from the "bad-thinking" policy of banning the use of effective traps to limit problem varmints or carnivores has now reached an "I told you so" status. There is a chronic problem right now with beavers and coyotes in our communities. Towns such as Sterling needed to boil their water due to beaver dam problems. Other cities and towns have been losing cats by the hundreds, as well as small dogs, due to coyotes. Thus providing the evidence of predicted undesirable results.

The MSPCA should not be proud of their support of the cruel extermination of numerous family pets from around the state. Because that is exactly what they have done by their 1996 referendum campaign to eliminate effective means of managing predator populations. Their worry about dogs getting caught in the padded traps (these traps were defined in a Massachusetts court as being humane) is unfounded. Most communities have a lease law for dogs. I also believe if the cat "nation" could talk, they would prefer to have a few of their kind get caught in traps set deep in the woods, versus hundreds being torn apart in their neighborhoods by carnivores. I’d certainly much rather have neighborhood cats for rodent control than what’s going to be left.

This brings up a dichotomy of sorts. Towns have leash laws for dogs, yet the voters in 1996 were wrongly sold into allowing for the proliferation of predators- coyotes, bears, fox, fisher cats, etc… to roam freely into our neighborhoods helping themselves to loving domestic animals and bird food.

Since people first started keeping domestic animals they have had to deal with the insurgence of predators onto their properties. (They used traps, firearms or used larger animals of their own to keep these pests away.) Hopefully wildlife managers and others can be given back the effective methods to manage wildlife. Packs of these wild predators need to be reduced in number in order to protect our domestic animals. With their smaller numbers, and resultant adequate food sources, the predators will be more apt to remain in the woods.

Another Massachusetts’ mess created by people trying to "do good", who had an issue that sounded great in principle, but which presents far too many undesirable results.

Hopefully the people realize the folly associated with the total trapping ban, and it can be reversed!

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