By Shelbie Harris as published on The Idaho State Journal
“While at first glance this sad story might not appear to have much to do with wild horses and burros but it most certainly applies, with spades. Some time ago, myself and fellow investigators from Wild Horse Freedom Federation were documenting BLM Contract long term holding facilities when we came across one contractor’s property, used to house former wild horses, with prominent signs indicating that like poison devices were in use on the very same property that captive wild horses were grazing. To date, this finding haunts us as we continue to seek ways and means to stop the barbaric removal of protected wild horses and burros from their congressionaly approved, rightful range.” ~ R.T.
POCATELLO — As he walked his dog along the ridgeline of the hillside just south of his family’s home on West Buckskin Road, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield noticed what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding 6 inches from the ground.
Like many curious teenagers would, he bent down and touched the pipe, which erupted with a loud popping noise that knocked Canyon off his feet. A hissing sound ensued and Canyon noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. After quickly washing his face and clothes in a nearby patch of snow, he called for his dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey.
But Canyon’s best friend didn’t respond.
Within minutes, Casey was dead.
“My little brother is lying in bed crying next to me,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “He spent yesterday in the emergency room after stumbling upon an unmarked cyanide bomb in the woods directly behind my home. He watched his best friend suffocate as sodium cyanide was deposited in his mouth.”
Canyon was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where he was treated and released. But he must continue daily follow-up appointments to check toxicity levels.
On Thursday afternoon, Casey joined thousands of other non-targeted animals — both wild and domestic — that have been mistakenly killed by one of the most lethal tools at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.
Known as M-44 devices, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA deploys these sodium cyanide capsules throughout the West to protect livestock from coyotes, wild dogs, and red and gray foxes.
M-44s are hollow metal tubes 5 to 7 inches long that are driven into the ground, loaded with 0.9 grams of sodium cyanide and coated with the smelliest bait possible…(CONTINUED)