Illegally setting body-gripping traps would face increased penalty under Mullery bill

HARRISBURG, April 27 – In an effort to better protect dogs and other domestic animals, state Rep. Gerald Mullery introduced legislation that would increase the penalty for illegally setting body-gripping traps.

State law requires all body-gripping traps to be set inside an established watercourse, waterway, marsh, pond, or dam. Unfortunately, body-gripping traps are often illegally placed outside these water locations, inadvertently luring dogs and other domestic animals which are often seriously injured or killed by the traps, according to Mullery.

“The frequency and severity of this problem prompted the Pennsylvania Game Commission to restrict the size of openings for these traps in an effort to reduce the number of domestic animals being killed or injured by them. Even with this size restriction, I believe it is necessary to strengthen the penalty for those who place these traps in unapproved and illegal locations,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne.

A violation of the current law is punishable by a fine of up to $200. House Bill 1292 would raise that penalty to a fine of up to $1,500 and up to three months in prison.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association supported the bill when Mullery introduced it last legislative session, although it did not receive a vote by the House Game and Fisheries Committee.