Update: Gov’t agency issues statement after family dog killed by ‘cyanide bomb’

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A cyanide bomb | Courtesy Bannock County Sheriff’s Office

UPDATE:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, which placed the devices in the area, issued the following statement Friday.

APHIS’ Wildlife Services confirms the unintentional lethal take of a dog in Idaho. As a program made up of individual employees many of whom are pet owners, Wildlife Services understands the close bonds between people and their pets and sincerely regrets such losses. Wildlife Services has removed M-44s in that immediate area. Wildlife Services is completing a thorough review of the circumstances of this incident, and will work to review our operating procedures to determine whether improvements can be made to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences happening in the future.

The unintentional lethal take of a dog is a rare occurrence. Wildlife Services policies and procedures are designed to minimize unintentional take or capture of domestic pets. It posts signs and issues other warnings to alert pet owners when wildlife traps or other devices are being used in an area for wildlife damage management. M-44s are spring-activated devices that release cyanide when they are activated through upward pressure or pulling. These devices are only set at the request of and with permission from property owners or managers. This is the first unintentional take with an M-44 device in Idaho since 2014.

Wildlife Services provides expert federal leadership to responsibly manage one of our nation’s most precious resources – our wildlife. We seek to resolve conflict between people and wildlife in the safest and most humane ways possible, with the least negative consequences to wildlife overall. Our staff is composed of highly-skilled wildlife professionals who are passionate about their work to preserve the health and safety of people and wildlife.

ORIGINAL STORY:

POCATELLO — The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident where a predator control device — commonly referred to as a “cyanide bomb or cyanide trap” — detonated killing a family dog and injuring a child.

The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office received a call Thursday from a local father indicating an unknown device had detonated in close proximity to his son and the family’s dog, according to a news release. The incident occurred on a ridge line located above a residence on Buckskin Road in Pocatello.

The father said the family dog had been killed and his son had been covered in an unknown substance as the device detonated. The sheriff’s office indicated the child was not seriously injured by the chemical.

Hazmat crews and fire department personnel responded to the incident. Investigators were still at the scene as of 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the Idaho State Journal. The deceased dog, a 3-year-old lab named Casey, also was found covered with cyanide.

Deputies later determined the device was placed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for animal control, specifically for predators such as coyotes. The device, officially named an M-44, releases a burst of cyanide when activated.

Deputies say this device is extremely dangerous to animals and humans. If a device such as this is ever located, local law enforcement officials say not to touch or go near the device and to contact local law enforcement immediately.

The family involved in this incident were evaluated at a local hospital and were released, according to the news release.

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