BENTON COUNTY, Ore. — Some concerned neighbors want Oregon State University to immediately remove all animal traps around its sheep center.
After finding three separate wildlife animals dead and alive, trapped and hanging from the inner OSU sheep center fence line near her home, neighbor Cassandra Robertson says she’s had enough and is calling on OSU to remove the traps immediately.
“I think they’re very archaic,” said Cassandra Robertson.
In the past month, Cassandra Robertson has found a dead coyote caught in a foot snare, then a few days later, a struggling raccoon hanging in the fence.
“This is OSU sheep farm. I have just found a live raccoon in one of their traps, hanging in this fence trying to free itself. This is inhumane and disgusting and this practice needs to stop immediately,” Robertson said.
OSU administrators say the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services traps are the last line of defense, along with several other methods that are in place to protect their sheep from predators.
“They are not only just lambs, but they are also part of many of the research projects that go on, part of the tax payers investment,” OSU Department Head of Animal Sciences John Killefer said.
Robertson says she understands the need to protect the sheep, but thinks there’s other ways of doing that.
“What if we had neighbors sign up and each neighbor walked the perimeter one time a month and that was their service to the community, so we didn’t have to kill wildlife. There’s also dogs, potential for sheep dogs,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s main concern is the potential danger for neighborhood kids and pets. She says one of her neighbor’s dogs has already gotten caught in the traps.
“That dog somehow just went limp and didn’t pull on the snare, otherwise it could have died, instead he just whimpered and they were able to come and free it, that was very lucky,” Robertson said.
“We are very interested in trying to identify ways to minimize the trapping or capture of non-target species, no system is 100 percent,” Killefer said.
OSU officials say they share the same concerns as the public and will be looking into alternative methods to keep the predators out.
Snare traps video courtesy: Predatordefense.org