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Mayor: Get cyanide bombs out of Pocatello


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This M-44 cyanide explosive went off behind the Mansfields’ home. | Courtesy Theresa Mansfield

POCATELLO — Mayor Brian Blad is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop storing and manufacturing cyanide bombs within the city after a boy was hurt and his dog killed when they were exposed to one of the devices near their Pocatello home in March.

“The storage and manufacturing of cyanide bombs within the corporate limits of Pocatello present a clear and present danger to its (citizens),” Blad wrote to Acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Young as well as local USDA employee Patrick Darrow.

The device, officially known as an M-44, is used for animal control, specifically for predators such as coyotes. It releases a burst of cyanide when activated.

“I see this little pipe that looked like a sprinkler sticking out of the ground,” the 14-year-old boy, Canyon Mansfield, told last month. “I go over and touch it. Then it makes a pop sound and it spews orange gas everywhere.”

The gas sprayed into Canyon’s left eye and onto his clothing. Casey, the family dog, experienced seizures and died.

Canyon Mansfield and Casey | Courtesy photo

Since the exposure, Canyon has experienced headaches, nausea and numbness, according to his family.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen has said the device was illegal due to it being on Bureau of Land Management land and being 300 yards from a home without warning signs.

Now Blad is asking the USDA to provide a timeline for when the M-44s will be removed from city limits.

In the letter, Blad addresses the agency’s statement of dogs being killed by the devices as a “rare occurrence.” The mayor says “one such occurrence is one too many.”

Read the full letter here.

Previous stories

Boy sprayed by cyanide explosive: ‘By the grace of God I’m still alive’

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

‘Cyanide bomb’ on US land broke agency policy, spurs several petitions