A 14-year-old boy and his dog innocently playing outside their home near Pocatello, Idaho last week turned into a life or death situation when they crossed paths with a “cyanide bomb” that had been planted by Wildlife Services, a division as the USDA.
Mistaking it for a sprinkler head on the ground, Canyon Mansfield touched the device which then exploded, spraying them with toxic cyanide gas. Tragically, Canyon was injured and Casey, his family’s three-year-old, 90 pound, Labrador Retriever, was killed.
“Canyon said there was a bang like a bomb, then an explosion of an orange substance that covered him and Casey, who was writhing in pain on the ground before he died right in front of Canyon,” said the boy’s mother, Theresa.
His father, Mark, a local physician rushed to the scene and tried, unsuccessfully, to revive Casey.
The understandably outraged family, as reported by the East Idaho news, were not even aware that U.S. predator-control agents had planted cyanide bombs in the area that were intended to target coyotes near people’s homes and hiking trails.
“We weren’t aware, and nobody told us,” said a distraught Teresa. “There was nothing posted up on the hill saying to beware or be careful.”
According to Mark, the local authorities also had no prior knowledge of it nor did they even know what a cyanide bomb was.
“I’ve been a sheriff here for 20 years and worked for the office for 39 years,” concurred Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County Sheriff. “and I’ve never heard of leaving around a device that emits poisonous gas.”
Officially called an M-44, a cyanide bomb is a spring-activated device that releases cyanide when they are activated through upward pressure or pulling. The US Department of Agriculture uses the devices to control coyotes and other predators.
A statement from the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services seem to minimize the tragedy that occurred on Friday noting it was the first “unintentional lethal take of a dog” by an M-44 in Idaho since 2014.
It also noted that “These devices are only set at the request of and with permission from property owners or managers,” the agency said. They are “spring-activated” and “not explosive devices.”
“The USDA’s statement regarding the horrific incident that happened to my family yesterday is both disrespectful and inaccurate. The USDA intentionally refers to the brutal killing of our dog as a ‘take’ to render his death trivial and insignificant,” said Madison, Canyon’s older sister who was interviewed by the Idaho State Journal. “They also claim that the killing of an unintended victim is a rare occurrence, but this is entirely untrue. In fact, this issue is nationally recognized due to the lack of selectivity of cyanide bombs, and there have been many reported incidents in which unintended animals and people have been targeted.”
Nielsen is planning to with meet federal officials next week to “get to the bottom of this.”
The family and first-responders underwent decontamination procedures. Because he was sprayed in the face, Canyon had to be tested for cyanide poisoning at a hospital, both Thursday and Friday.
As of now, according to Theresa Mansfield, Wildlife Services has not contacted the family to apologize for the devastating occurrence.
Source: East Iadaho News
Photo Credits: Totallygoldens, East Iadaho News
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