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.

John Lauritsen

Comments (43)
  1. Kevin says:

    Wow…15 minutes….wow…..I need to take a shower now…..

  2. Bud says:

    If it happened to obamas dog it would change

    1. Steve says:

      Save your lame comments to yourself, I don’t think the people that have lost dogs to this kind of trap appreciate it. Aside from the emotional loss (since most of us consider our hunting dogs as part of the family), what about the financial loss! The breed of hunting dog I have cost $1000, then add the time and cost for training, Let’s add a possible vet bill if the dog survives the trap! Putting it in perspective, if your dog (if you have one) was caught in one, it wouldn’t be funny! If someone vandalized your car or house in excess of $1000 I’m you would be upset!

  3. Elizabeth Troester says:

    Louis, did you read the article? I regret what this man went through. I hope Sen. Wiger’s bill becomes law. Bud, your comment is pretty lame….really. However, I realize you may be a teenager, based on the mentality shown, so I’ll leave it at that, rather than wasting time on a rebuttal.

  4. j speedbag 64 says:

    wow….cpr to save his ol’pal…..way to go….thumbs up..

  5. Steve says:

    Pay attention to the article, the “dude” was not using traps to hunt rabbits, he was using dogs. His dog got caught in SOMEONE ELSE’S trap!

  6. Admiral Ackbar says:

    IT’S A TRAP!

  7. John Reynolds says:

    The comments that WCCO is pretty interesting. Excluding the people who walk their dogs on public land AND have every right to do it there must be at least 200,000 hunters with dogs. Compare that with the 6,000-8,000 trappers of which only a minority use body grips on the ground for maybe 3,000 trappers. Combine that with the fact that there are safe and effective alternatives to setting these meat baited dog killers on the ground. Even the MTA trapping instructor has an article in a national trapping magazine about his very effective method of catching coons off the ground. There are also dog proof coon traps. So when you hear Rep Cornish claiming this is the end of coon trapping you can rest assured that either he doesn’t know anything about trapping or he’s being dishonest.

    And they expect hunters and dog walkers to give up taking our dogs in the woods.

    That’s a pretty bold statement coming from such a small group of people who depend on us for permission to trap.

    1. Trashguy says:

      And with the numbers that John has pointed out above, if the DNR does not change the way these traps are being set & continue to kill dogs, what does that tell you about our DNR? Sure would like to be at that meeting this Saturday between the two trappers groups and the DNR, or wold that meeting really involve just THREE trapping groups!!!

  8. Pet Lover says:

    They need theses traps to be off ground. Walking in the woods, exploring turning into a death trap for dogs. A law needs to be passed to get the traps up.

  9. DEEP says:

    Those traps need to go! A man should be able to hunt and or just walk a dog off leash in open areas!

  10. Steve says:

    If I damage your property, I’m expected to pay restitution. If your trap kills my $1000 hunting dog, I’m supposed to sit back and say $h!t happens!

    1. Trapper Jim says:

      I’ve read that Maryland trappers are legally responsible for anything their traps catch.

  11. Kevin says:

    CCO getting a little political? How many times is this type of story going to run while the legislature is considering the bill to change trapping?

    How many pets get killed by cars each year. Probably thousands. We should probably do away with cars as well.

    1. Steve says:

      I don’t let my dogs run loose around busy roads or neighborhoods, and my hunting dogs are at low risk of being run over in the woods where I hunt. So I think your analogy is a little off! The controversy is the safe use of public land in rural areas where the incidents of dogs getting hit by cars is pretty low compared to urban areas.

    2. Steve says:

      To add to my earlier reply, a high percentage of dogs hit by cars is probably the owners fault for not securing their dogs in urban areas. Public land in rural areas, there should be a higher expectation of safety from traps set by someone else.

      1. Kevin says:

        Okay. Legitimate arguments.

        The trappers say that the traps won’t work unless they are on the ground. The pet owners say that they are unsafe.

        How about a campaign to educate the pet owning public on how to open these traps if your pet gets in them.

        These traps used to be offered with a safety pin on the springs, such that if you pulled the safety pin the springs would come off the trap. Perhaps having an engineer take a look at the design and see if an even better modification could me made to the trap so that it could be released from what it has caught by almost anyone.

  12. Trapper Jim says:

    If you haven’t read this article Rep. Tony Cornish is quoted as saying that hunters and dog owners should just accept our dogs getting killed in body grip traps.

    It isn’t our dogs that should be on a leash and muzzled it’s Rep Tony Cornish.

    As a trapper I wish Rep Cornish would stop pretending to know anything about trapping and keep his mouth shut.

  13. Steve says:

    The News anchor Amelia Santaniello said the Increase in dog trap incidents are due to the mild winter, I think your wrong. Most of the recent reported incidents were hunting dogs which happened during hunting season. We’re out hunting regardless of weather! The actual # of incidents are higher because a lot of hunters never find their dogs or don’t report it They are reporting it now because of the attention this is getting in the Press over the recent months!

  14. Saffron says:

    WCCO is being duped into the MN trapper’s propaganda campaign of selling the use of body-gripping traps as humane. Not only do they not kill dogs in a precise, instant-death location, they kill every other kind of animal that walks into those traps, both domestic and wild. IT IS A TORTUROUS DEATH. Raising the traps to five feet is a joke! Minnesota’s trapping laws show how behind the times, archaic, primitive and barbaric the mentality of the state really is. WCCO is now helping this state to stay in the dark ages by continually running such biased coverage.

    That John Reynolds, a trapper, feigned tears on camera was not for the dog, it was for his own personal loss—it just demonstrates how selfish and hypocritical trappers really are.

    1. Burt says:

      It will be swamp people Minnesota next. Trapping is neither a sport or occupation, do away with it.

  15. John W. Noraas says:

    Sounds like folks are being “dupped” by the anti hunting anti trapping agenda. This sounds like the same article that came up a short time ago. So really who is waging a PR campaign?

  16. jim says:

    You should have stayed in school. Get back to the window. The line is getting long.

  17. M. Murphy says:

    SIMPLE- Get these traps off the ground, or get them out of the woods!!!

  18. alligator says:

    i submit that a human size trap of this type be installed in the refrigerator of the trapper so that when he goes in there to get his beef jerky and beer he can get trapped on his neck… THAT would make my day.

  19. Heather says:

    Loren is my uncle. He rarely makes a fuss about anything and respects people and their beliefs. Have a little respect for his. If your dog ran out your front door unleashed and got hit by a car, he’d be the first to tell you how sorry he is. He has been hunting and fishing his whole life and respects the different methods used, but feels this kind is wrong. I’m sure you all have your opinions too and would like people to respect them. Making stupid comments just shows your lack of intelligence.

    1. Tim says:

      Thank you Heather, you are right on.

  20. Important Issue says:

    Thank you WCCO for continuing to cover this issue! I would like to see the trappers come on TV as well and defend what they feel is their right to kill dogs here and there by accident. This is not about irresponsible dog owners letting their dogs run loose all the time, this is about dog owners who have spent hundreds of hours and sometimes thousands of dollars training their dogs for hunting and tracking and those responsible enough to take their dogs out for exercise while they are under voice commands and E collars. It is also about trappers who can still trap a lot of animals even with the proposed changes, so it is a win win if these changes are implemented soon before too many more dogs are killed because without the change there will be a lot more dogs killed in traps. To support trap regulation changes please write emails to the DNR and your legislators. You can find email addresses for them on their websites. We need to keep on this issue.

  21. Peace says:

    My dog also got caught in a trap, but he was yellow lab so I was able to get the trap off his head. He was hurt and very shaken, but surrvived the ordeal. The fact is, out in nature tons of stuff can happen to your dog. Traps, eating toxic plants, running into a skunk or porcupine, going through ice in the winter, the list goes on. It’s a risk we take with our four legged friends. You have to decide if you want your dog to be free and hunt or leashed and safe.

    1. Important Issue says:

      Labs can be killed by body grip traps also. I was just informed of a golden retriever near where I live killed in a body grip trap in January. Also at the end of 2010 a man bird hunting on public land with his yellow lab near Pine River had his dog killed in a trap right near him. Labs are not immune from death by body grip trap. You were either lucky, very strong or you are a trapper and have experience with these traps. You are right that out in nature stuff can happen but with traps it does not have to happen and they are not natural. It is a killing and injuring device that can be removed from the equation. Traps are left for up to 3 days in nature unattended, hidden and baited. With cars and roads and even some barb wire fence a dog owner knows where they are and can easily avoid them so dont bother with that over used analogy either. 20 or more other states have made this change to protect dogs and other unintended animals and it was for good reason. Trappers in those states often talk about many other good methods for trapping intended animals. They did not want to lose their trapping privileges like what has happened in Colorado.

      1. Peace says:

        I know I was very lucky with my dog. I have no experience with traps, I think my adrenaline kicked in. I probably could not go back and figure out what I did to free him. I agree, traps are not natural. I just kind of blamed myself for what my dog went through. The more I read, the more I’m learning though, thanks for the post!

  22. Willliam says:

    If you believe changes are needed to save our dogs. Please sign the on going petition that is out there. Can’t post a link, but just do a Google search with these key words “safe-public-lands” and it should show up on the top of your results.

  23. Rick Christian says:

    What about the livelihood of the trapper? That comment is ridicules, with the welfare Minnesota pays out, no one has to make that their livelihood.

  24. John W. Noraas says:

    Just do us a favor and direct us to whichever organization is willing to pay for predator loss, income loss, and lack of disease control if they ban these traps. DNR, special interest group, county government? How hard is it for a “hunter” “dogwalker” to check with a landowner about trapping sounds more like irresponsible dog owner then trapper…anyone check to see who the traps actually belonged to maybe like a government agency. Get the rest of the story before you go running off to make more of a mess.

    1. Willliam says:

      Noraas wrote: “How hard is it for a “hunter” “dogwalker” to check with a landowner about trapping” Your comment really doesn’t deserve a reply, but I will anyway. We are talking about PUBIC land here, get it!! And Mr Noraas hows your trapping season gone so far this year? Another thing that bugs me of what has been brought up in the past, that hunters and trappers should stick together on this problem. Granted we both end up killing an animal, but the big difference between us is I as a hunter do not profit from it with $$$, as does the trapper and I think that speaks volumes of what is being said here by some.

    2. Steve says:

      John, there are other effective traps other than the conibear trap and if a conibear trap is deemed necessary there are ways of dog proofing it

      You talk about paying for “Loss”, my particular breed of hunting dog cost $1000 and that’s before I buy birds for training etc. maybe the trapper can reimburse me when his trap kills my dog. Much like you’d expect me to pay you if I damage your car or other personal property!

    3. Steve says:

      furthermore the controversy is not to eliminate trapping, the controversy is the type of trap and how it is used. There are alternatives!

    4. Marc Brogan says:

      Really? Someone is supposed to go door to door and ask permission to walk they’re dog down a country road? What a joke. Trappers are always the first to claim they have a “right” to set traps in public road right of ways and 90% of them don’t have permission to do so but will argue that it is a public right of way and it is they’re “right” to trap there…. but a taxpayer living along the road doesn’t have a “right” to walk they’re dog without risking its death by a trap?
      I’ve got a couple locations that are hot spots for slob trappers. Because I hunt with hounds, I keep an eye on these areas for 220s being set, legally or illegally. One evening I was driving down the road near one of these locations and met the landowners teenage daughter walking her dogs down the road. Her father owned the land on each side of the road. Some slob had 220s set in some coon dens along the road and the girl’s mini schnauzer was about 2 minutes away from being caught when I pulled up and alerted her to the presence of them. Now trappers, please give me an argument justifying the actions of the slob that set those and why these traps shouldn’t be regulated.

  25. Trapper Jim says:

    Yes. I’d like to see WCCO interview someone from the 3 trappers organizations and have them explain three things.

    1. Why they can’t switch to dog proof coon traps or boxes mounted on trees?

    2. Give a detailed instruction how a grouse hunter can prevent his/her dog from finding a hidden meat baited trap before they do so they can call the dog back?

    3. Why trappers aren’t the ones responsible for the traps that trappers set?

  26. freerangekids says:

    How long before a child gets hurt or worse in these barbaric devices? I hope legislators and the DNR don’t wait too long to make these changes!

  27. Chuck says:

    The DNR is holding a meeting with the trapping organizations on Saturday.

    If the ‘solution’ they come up with is to restrict the hole size that leads to the trap it will mean that the DNR thinks [like Rep. Tony Cornish] we should accept more dead dogs because you cannot have a hole to the trap large enough to allow a bobcat but keep out a dog’s head.

    Write your legislators and let them know that we don’t want any more dead dogs. Fewer dead dogs is not acceptable.

  28. Joe says:

    The MN Trappers Association has taken the position that they will oppose any changes to the regulations according to the Bemidji Pioneer editorial. In other words they intend on continuing to kill our dogs.

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