TRAPPING – HUMANE CAGE TRAPS
- Animal Control Officers (ACOs) & others use “cage traps” in a variety of sizes to catch domestic & wild animals in a safe, humane manner. Check on availability before you need one. The cage front has a bi-fold type door which “locks” in an up/open position when trap is “set”. A “footplate” is located about 3/4 of the way into the cage. When stepped on, it releases a side rod, which allows the front door to quickly close on an angle, trapping the dog. If the proper size cage isn’t used, the door will attempt to close but might come down to rest on their rump instead. It will startle but not hurt. When the dog backs out and clears the door, it will spring shut.
- Where to set the cage? A good spot is in the immediate area where you have one or more verified sightings. Don’t delay. Locate a resident or business owner who will let you set up the cage on their property, ideally using same areas where the dog has been seen. Choose “easy” access spots for monitoring, yet private – for the dog’s sake and prying eyes of children or adults.
- Ask an ACO to help you explain to people how the trap works and its importance to this rescue. Established law sets minimum times required to check traps. Checking more frequently is highly recommended and necessary, especially in severe or cold weather. Be advised that area residents will not appreciate their pets being locked up in your cage.
- Make sure the cage is on steady ground and doesn’t wobble. Suggestions: Use wet dog food with a portion of: meatballs, roast beef, stinky cheese, hotdogs, etc. De-bone any meat you use, don’t risk someone’s dog choking. Don’t use cat food. It attracts too many felines as well as skunks, possums and raccoons. Precious time is wasted when a trap has “unwanted” “guests.” Set food at rear of trap on shallow plate. Hang a hotdog inside, from the top & near the rear. Put a few small bits of food outside the trap leading inside. Don’t overload the area outside trap with food, a common mistake. The goal is to entice a hungry dog into the cage. Put in a water bowl.
- Cages with a rear door option make it easier to change food & release unwanted guests. Tip – Use handicap grabber tongs to reach/adjust items in cages. Dogs don’t like walking on wire grates. Using a towel, cover the bottom grates up to and over, but not under, the footplate. Do not have items sticking out the front entrance as they will jam, prevent the door from closing securely and make it possible for the dog to get out.
- Items to place inside: a section of the dog’s blanket, dog hair, toy, same items from other dog in house, owner’s used t-shirt or pillowcase. Nothing familiar to use? Use scents/hair from another dog. Lost male dog? Use facecloth swiped with urine of female dog or one in heat. Place a straight stick through the bars about 2 inches in front of the footplate and about 3 inches up, so the dog has to step over it, placing paw directly on footplate (adjust for dog’s size). Watch rod on side of cage.
- Cages are generally covered to protect the dog from sun, rain, chilling winds & snow. Camouflage it with dark green or brown shower curtain, tarp or other sturdy cloth. Cover most of cage except front door area. Position a few pine branches at the back end, but keep it open so dog can see through and food scent drifts out. Place small branches & twigs on top to weight it and give it a natural and “den-like” appearance. Toss leaves, not sticks, just inside the entrance over wire grates still exposed. Secure covers & branches so they don’t fall into entrance, jam the door or rod.
- Always test the trap function. Anyone who monitors the cage should be comfortable with releasing and/or re-setting the trap. If not, assign “duties.” List two names with phone numbers for “emergency” contacts on 8 x 11 paper. Put in protective sheet/Ziploc bag & secure to cage with twist ties.
Here is another great site with lots of helpful information if you have lost your dog.
We Wish You The Best of Luck in Finding Your Pet!