Cyanide Bombs Endanger Pets, People & Wildlife

It is common practice among dogs to not get involved in politics. But can someone please explain to my canine brain how the Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency that is supposed to be protecting the environment, just reauthorized the use of the controversial cyanide chemical traps (called M-44s) to kill coyotes, dogs, foxes and other wild animals across the U.S.?  

M-44s are considered horrific death traps that kill thousands of unsuspecting animals every year, including pets. Opponents site the dangers to residential areas and ecological concerns but despite overwhelming public opposition, as noted in the EPA’s proposal including more than 20,0000 letters from the write-in campaign and 99.9 percent of public comments, the Trump administration just reauthorized its use. Yes, I said 99.9% opposition.

According to an analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center these “cyanide bombs”, as they are most commonly referred to, inhumanely and indiscriminately kill thousands of animals every year and they have also injured people. Although meant to protect livestock environmental groups are calling for a nationwide ban stating they are inhumane. 

Wildlife Services, the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for wildlife management, is authorized to use the devices, as are state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas. "Cyanide traps can't be used safely by anyone, anywhere," said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

"While the EPA added some restrictions, these deadly devices have caused too much harm to remain in use (most recently a boy was injured and his dog was killed when they encountered an M-44 just beyond their Idaho home’s backyard). We need a permanent nationwide ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison." stated Adkins.

According to Wildlife Services' data, M-44s killed 6,579 animals in 2018. More than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks and a bear. "In my 25 years working with M-44 victims I've learned that Wildlife Services' agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. "And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals and potentially children from being killed. They cannot read them. M-44s are a safety menace and must be banned."

I care about the world I live in. I know that people care too. I am only a dog though and I am stumped as to what to do about this beyond spreading awareness. Perhaps start a new agency called the Agency for Protection from the Environmental Protection Agency?

My name is Atlas and I am a homeless very handsome 2 year-old Saint Bernard/ Pyrenees (Saint Pyrn) 85lb hunk of love who is passionate about playing with both humans and other dogs. I am a little bit goofy and awkward in my lanky body but it just adds to my sweet and fun nature. I do need a fence higher than 6 feet, or outside supervision in my new home. I feel I would be a great family dog, particularly for an active family that likes to explore as much as I do. Let’s meet!

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Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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