Federal cyanide trap injures Idaho boy, kills dog

Associated Press

Pocatello, Idaho — A cyanide trap placed by federal authorities to kill coyotes injured a 14-year-old boy and killed his dog, an eastern Idaho sheriff said.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said that the device activated Thursday near Pocatello, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Nielsen said the boy was transported to a hospital emergency room to be tested for cyanide poisoning but was not seriously injured and was released.

“That little boy is lucky,” Nielsen said. “His guardian angel was protecting him.”

The dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey, died after coming across the device on a ridgeline above the family’s residence.

Nielsen said the cyanide device, known as an M-44, was placed in the area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s spring-activated and is typically smeared with bait and shoots poison into an animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap.

The Idaho office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services declined to comment when contacted Friday by The Associated Press.

Nielsen said the boy’s father called authorities to say his son was covered in an unknown substance when the device activated, and that the dog had died. The rest of the family was also evaluated at a hospital for cyanide poisoning and released, the sheriff said.

Theresa Mansfield, the boy’s mother, said her son was walking the dog on a hillside behind their home when they encountered the device. She said her son was knocked down when it activated, and that he watched as the dog died.

“Seeing something like that stays with you,” she said.

The Pocatello Fire Department and a hazardous material crew also responded to the area.