Education, and not more regulation, could be the best approach to the trapping of animals in Mount Airy, according to a city planner who will address that topic at a meeting this afternoon.
Mount Airy’s planning staff has been studying this issue in the wake of a local woman’s cat being injured on April 1 by a trap that had been set by a neighbor trying to catch a groundhog damaging his property.
Myra Combs was identified as the owner of the cat, which was taken to a veterinarian who reportedly had to sedate the animal and use bolt cutters to remove the trap.
While the cat was said to be recovering from the ordeal at last report, the incident prompted its owner to ask the municipal government to ban certain kinds of traps within the city limits because she believes they are inhumane.
That request led City Manager Barbara Jones to instruct Mount Airy’s planning staff to explore regulations regarding trapping inside municipalities, and how other communities manage the practice.
The results of those studies will be presented today by Emily Hines, a city planner, during a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners which begins at 2 p.m.
Based on a memo from Hines to Jones which was obtained by The Mount Airy News, certain traps can be used in North Carolina — with restrictions.
These include Conibear-type traps, also known as body-gripping traps, which was the type that caught the local woman’s cat. This is a lethal implement designed to suffocate or break the spines of animals.
Other legal devices include foothold traps, snares (for beavers only) and Collarum-type traps, which are permitted only for coyotes.
Hines’ memo states that even though those traps are legal, approval for their use is required through local game wardens. This process serves to educate the trapper about the regulations and proper use of traps, such as one requirement that they be checked daily, according to the planner.
As part of her research, Hines also consulted localities that have made trapping of animals unlawful within their jurisdictions, such as the towns of Coats, Angier, Erwin and Littleton, but found that they contained exemptions.
“Therefore, because the state already requires a permit for trapping,” Hines wrote in the memo, “the adoption of an ordinance by the city of Mount Airy would not change the end result. The better option would be better education of state trapping regulations.”
No telephone listing could be found for Combs, the woman whose cat was trapped, in order to seek her reaction to those findings.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.