Reporting John Lauritsen
LAKE CITY, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota man said it took 15 minutes of CPR to save his dog from a hunter’s trap.
“Through this whole process I’m thinking my dog is dead. She’s dying and she’s going to die,” said Loren Waalkens of Lake City.
Waalkens says his 6-year-old beagle, Frisbee, got caught in a fur trap last fall near Lake City while they were rabbit hunting. They were with Waalkens’ other beagle, Molly, and he was tracking the dogs by GPS when the signal for Frisbee stopped moving.
“I thought- something is up here. Because if the older dog is on a rabbit the younger pup would have been right there with her. And it just set off alarm bells in my head,” said Waalkens.
As he caught up with Frisbee, his worst fears were realized.
“The first thing was, ‘My God she’s in a trap.’ As I went up to her she looked dead,” said Waalkens.
The body grip trap caught Frisbee on the neck, nearly crushing her. She wasn’t breathing or moving, and Waalkens knew time was short.
“I squeezed and gave it all I had. I had seconds to get her out, seconds,” he said.
Eventually the trap released, and Waalkens began CPR on his 6-year-old beagle. He gave her chest compressions and rubbed her body, and after 15 minutes, Frisbee came to. Despite a sore neck, she was okay.
“I got lucky. Very lucky and so did she,” Loren.
Waalkens said what happened that day is always in the back of his mind, and it has taken some of the enjoyment out of hunting. He believes unless the rules change, what happened to Frisbee will happen again.
That’s why he supports DFL State Sen. Chuck Wiger’s bill to require body grip traps to be five feet off the ground and placed in a way that would protect dogs.
If the traps are used to catch muskrats, they must be completely submerged in the water.
Not everyone’s on board with the bill. One e-mailer to WCCO-TV wrote, “If the dogs were not running free and were on a leash as required by most cities, they never would have got caught in the trap.”
Another e-mailer wrote, “Most often it isn’t the dog or trapper’s fault the dogs are in danger, it’s the owners that are not leashing their dogs. What about the livelihood of the trapper?”
“I would like to defend trapping. People have the right to trap, but do not have the right to use this method,” said Waalkens.
Waalkens said he believes asking hunting dogs to stay on a leash is like asking trappers not to trap.
“It makes me very mad. The fact that someone can set something like that in the woods that can kill your dog in two minutes or less is beyond me,” he said.
As many as 25 other states have passed similar laws to get the traps off the ground. Critics say those traps, meant for raccoons and other wild animals, have killed at least 25 pets in Minnesota in the last two years.