Poor Toby - A deadly warning for pet owners from America
13 February 2002
I had a dear friend. His name was Toby. He was dearly loved and cared for. Toby was an eight-month-old chocolate lab. I have always owned labs and am aware of their tendency to go off exploring if given the chance. On January 13th I took the chance before leaving for work of leaving our older dog in the house and letting Toby and Buddy, another lab pup that we were dog-sitting, outside to play, knowing that my boyfriend was on his way home from work. It was a big mistake that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I really let my Toby down.
We searched that night and for several days afterwards. We put up signs and put ads in the paper – no Toby or Buddy. We felt most likely they were stolen.
Approximately half a mile from my house Toby and Buddy were caught in a trapper’s snare. After 16 days Toby had the heart and determination to find his way home. My Toby was a 90-pound guy who now weighed no more than his bones. His neck had been caught in the snare. He’d been baited with a whole rabbit (which is against the law). His neck was severed through his trachea and into his esophagus. After we rushed him to the vet, we set out to find the snare.
We found Buddy, who had been lying next to Toby, and appeared to have died shortly after being snared. Fresh foot tracks indicated that Toby was let out of the snare by the trapper, who came to check his sets 16 days later, and had to drive by our driveway, with our sign "MISSING CHOCOLATE LAB"! The snares he’d set were only about 200 feet off the road, and no more than a quarter of a mile from where people with children and pets live.
Toby later died of his injuries.
I am not trying to escape the simple fact that ultimately, if Toby had not been left unsupervised, this would not have happened. This burdens me deep down in my soul. On the other hand, I feel a duty to warn people with children and pets that they too could be the victims of unethical trappers who set their traps close to backyards.
Case Ref: 286/2002