cyanide trap
Justin Hoffman

Cyanide Trap Targeting Coyotes Kills Pet Dog, Injures 14-Year-Old Boy

Predator control took a deadly turn in Idaho when cyanide trap is accidentally triggered.

A cyanide trap, planted near homes and hiking trails to target nuisance coyotes, tragically detonated March 16, injuring 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield and killing his canine companion, Casey. The trap, located in Pocatello, Idaho, was discovered by the boy near his home. Believing it to be a sprinkler head, Mansfield touched it, resulting in its detonation.

cyanide trap

Bannock County Sheriff's Office

The explosion sprayed the pair with toxic cyanide gas. The 90 pound Labrador retriever died almost immediately.

"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," Mansfield's mother said.

The spring-activated cyanide trap is called an M-44 and is used to control coyotes, wolves, cougars, foxes, and other animals deemed farm and ranch nuisances. Several traps were placed in Pocatello by the Wildlife Service, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County Sherriff, said his department was given no notice that devices would be placed around the community.

"I've been a sheriff here for 20 years and worked for the office for 39 years, and I've never heard of leaving around a device that emits poisonous gas," he said.

The last unintentional killing of a dog by an M-44 happened in 2014 in Idaho.