Kalihi Dog Chews Leg To Get Free From Pig Snare

Published On: Aug 19 2011 10:24:53 PM HST   Updated On: Aug 20 2011 02:57:14 AM HST

The controversy over using cable snares is pitting animal advocates and pet owners against conservationists, and farmers.

The controversy over using cable snares is pitting animal advocates and pet owners against conservationists, and farmers.

Meet Mamalu, a Kalihi Valley dog who lost her front leg to a pig snare about than a year ago.

?It was devastating for us as a family not knowing where she was for six days and wondering if she was okay,? said owner Puni Freitas.

Mamalu had chewed her own leg off to get free, and then hobbled her way home.

?Knowing it was a snare that had done that, we were really upset that there are people who are leaving them and not checking them,? Freitas said.

Freitas who lives deep in the valley, didn?t realize what happened to her pet was something that animal advocates had been battling over for years. The Humane Society of the United States has been working to get a law passed requiring that those who set traps properly mark them and check them once every 24 hours. It is now against the law to use of snares on public property, or private property without permission of the landowner.

?Without a requirement that these devices have identification, it is virtually impossible to hold anyone accountable,? said Inga Gibson of the Hawaii chapter.

Conservation groups who use snares as a tool to help protect native ecosystems are against the idea.

?A requirement to check snares on a daily basis in a remote native forest is not practically feasible,? said Mark Fox of the Hawaii Nature Conservancy.

Conservationists, along with farmers see the need the need to protect crops and native species from the damaging wild pig population. Their rooting for food has caused serious erosion in the forest. Proponents of stricter laws believe the problem of trapping non-target animals is a bigger problem than people realize. Gibson said a Big Island cat recently lost its front leg in a trap, and more than a year ago, a wallaby, which is a protected species, was found in a trap near the Pali Highway.

?The wallaby was taken to the Honolulu zoo and was subsequently euthanized due to the extent of his injuries," Gibson said.

And there are other stories of dogs on the prowl for pigs who have been injured as well.

?A lot of the complaints we receive are from hunters,? said Gibson. A windward Oahu veterinarian said she recently treated two such dogs for injuries they sustained in a snare.

?Most of the pig hunters in this valley don't support snares. It is dangerous for our dogs and kids who still have the opportunity to run in the mountains,? said Freitas.

These days, with just three legs and a resilient spirit, Mamalu is back on the job at Kokua Kalihi Valley Health Center and Nature Park, keeping the rats and pigs away.


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