OREGON - A device meant to kill predators has killed many domestic dogs in Oregon, according to Congressman Peter DeFazio.
The devices are called M44's, and they're planted in the ground on federal and private land across 13 states, including Oregon.
Congressman DeFazio says USDA Wildlife Services are responsible for the devices that are meant to kill predators like coyotes in order to protect livestock. DeFazio has been working to ban them, saying there are safer ways to control predator populations.
"They kill more dogs and non-responsible wildlife than they actually target predators,” said Representative DeFazio.
In Oregon, a bill to ban the devices was passed and signed by Governor Kate Brown on May 6. The bill was headed by the non-profit "Predator Defense. "
"We have become victim's advocates for people who have had dogs killed or have been harmed by M44's',” said Predator Defense director, Brook Fahy. “Not one of them is the same as they were before the incident.
Fahy has kept track of hundreds of cases since 1990 where dogs were killed by the baited devices. Six notable cases were in Oregon.
"If a dog pulls on an M44, they're dead,” said Fahy. “There's no second chance.”
The ban passed in Oregon nearly unanimously
DeFazio recently introduced 'Canyon's Law' into the Congress. It's named after 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield of Idaho, who watched his dog, Casey, die from an M44 in 2017.
Canyon still suffers from migraines since the cyanide exposure.
Banned in 1972 and brought back in 1985, DeFazio says lobbying groups, mainly those supporting ranchers, have kept the practice in place.
"We should not spend 10's of millions of dollars a year indiscriminately killing predators,” said DeFazio.
Oregon's state ban will go into effect in 2020.
USDA Wildlife Services said the following in a statement:
We follow all federal, state and local laws and regulations and we will continue to follow all laws and regulations to protect American agriculture.
Predator Defense is writing a letter to USDA asking them to stop using M44's immediately since the ban was passed.