Federal government denies liability for boy sprayed with cyanide trapPublished at | Updated at
POCATELLO — The federal government has denied the allegations of a lawsuit filed by the parents of a boy who was sprayed with cyanide near their Pocatello home. In fact, in their answer to the lawsuit, federal officials said Canyon Mansfield, then 14, and his family were negligent in the incident that exposed him to the poison and killed the family dog.
The government also disputed calling the device a “cyanide bomb.” The response repeats multiple times that M-44 cyanide devices are not bombs as they do not contain explosives, and the capsule used is approved as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency. These devices contain a spring-activated ejector to propel cyanide powder into the air. They also dispute the plaintiffs’ version that the device “exploded with a loud bang, knocking (Canyon) to the ground.”
“I see this little pipe that looked like a sprinkler sticking out of the ground,” Canyon told EastIdahoNews.com shortly after the incident in March 2017. “I go over and touch it. Then it makes a pop sound and it spews orange gas everywhere.”
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The government’s response also denies the investigation’s report that Todd Sullivan, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employee who placed the M-44 devices on what he thought was private land to control predators, called them “cyanide bombs.” However, the defense did not dispute that Sullivan told Bannock County Sheriff’s deputies he had placed the device on BLM land by mistake.
The defense denies Canyon and his family are entitled to damages “or any relief whatsoever” from the federal government. They request the Mansfield’s lawsuit be dismissed.
According to the lawsuit filed by Mark and Theresa Mansfield on Canyon’s behalf, the boy still undergoes regular blood tests and experiences headaches likely caused by the cyanide device.
The family is seeking a minimum of $75,000 for pain and suffering and an additional $75,000 minimum for economic damages.
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“The evidence will come out in court that the United States is responsible for the reprehensible acts of its employee and the irresponsible actions of its agencies for the placement of M-44 cyanide bombs,” Mark told EastIdahoNews.com.