Traps found in Shevlin Park still being investigated

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Published Dec 12, 2013 at 12:01AM

A month after a man walking his dog came across illegal traps in Shevlin Park, signs warning park visitors of the danger came down Wednesday afternoon.

“There are no indications that there are any more (traps) in the park or that there has been any more of that activity here,” said Angela Lute, Shevlin Park caretaker for the Bend Park & Recreation District.

Lute said she took down four signs in all, two near Aspen Hall and two at the trailhead on the opposite side of Shevlin Park Road. The district sent crews out into the brush around the about 650-acre park along Tumalo Creek just west of Bend, she said, but they didn’t discover any more animal traps.

Meanwhile, the Oregon State Police investigation of who set the traps continues.

“It’s open,” said Senior Trooper Greg Love of the OSP. “We don’t have any suspects.”

Citing the active investigation Love didn’t divulge much about the case other than to say that there was the report of some traps in the park and they were found. He declined to say what type of traps were found and whether any pets were hurt by them.

The park district gave a few more details on the discovery of two animal traps at Shevlin Park.

The dog of the man who found the traps was injured by one of traps, Lute said. But she and Sasha Sulia, natural resources manager for the district, said they didn’t know the man’s name or how the dog was doing now.

The traps were found near Aspen Hall on the north side of Shevlin Park Road, they said. Lute said the traps were off in the brush to the right of the gate at the entrance to Cougar Camp, next to a big stump.

Sulia ordered Lute to take the warning signs down Wednesday after The Bulletin inquired about them. She said she did so because there haven’t been any more incidents involving traps at the park. She also questioned why the paper was interested in the traps.

“There were traps found in the park and it is really not a story,” Sulia said.

Out walking his dog at Shevlin Park Wednesday afternoon, Ron Williams, 65, of Tumalo said he was glad the district had the warning signs about the traps up over the past month.

He said he’d be cautious about where his dog Suzie, a 10-year-old golden Labrador, wanders during their walks at the park since he saw the signs. Williams, a retired Bulletin circulation manager, said Shevlin Park isn’t a place for trapping.

“There are way too many dogs and pets down here that could get hurt,” he said.

In winter 2012 a half-dozen dogs were caught in traps around Central Oregon, helping fuel a Bend-based movement to have trapping banned around the state. Going by the name TrapFree Oregon, which also is the name of an anti-trapping informational webpage, the group is trying to put the trap ban issue on the state ballot for November 2014.

Jack Williamson’s dog, Kieri, was among the dogs caught in a trap in winter 2012. The 8-year-old wheaten terrier sustained spinal damage when she was caught in a body-gripping trap designed to capture and kill otters and beavers. The trap had been placed along the Metolius River Trail near Wizard Falls Hatchery. After surgery did not correct Kieri’s problems, Williamson, of West Linn, had the dog euthanized.

Unsatisfied by changes to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rules pertaining to traps and their proximity to trails, Williamson said he supports the proposed ban on trapping in Oregon. He said traps in a place like Shevlin Park are all the more reason.

“It just goes to point out the need for an outright prohibition,” he said.

But Don Nichols, fur sales manager for the Oregon Territorial Council on Furs, is skeptical about the traps and who might have set them.

“I suspect that the people that don’t like trapping planted them there,” he said. “Just to make it look bad.”

The council holds an annual fur trade and sale event in Prineville in March.

Honest trappers follow state regulations, he said, including obtaining a license, putting a number on their traps that corresponds with their name and contact information, and not putting traps where they’re not allowed.

He said there “would be no point” to setting traps in a park like Shevlin, where they’d be more like to capture pets than wildlife.

“Nobody in their right mind would do that,” he said.

—Reporter: 541-617-7812; ddarling@bendbulletin.com.