Anti-Coyote ‘Cyanide Bomb’ Injures 14yr Old Boy and Kills His Dog in Idaho

At least one Idaho family is enraged and in tears after a device planted by predator control agents near their home injured their 14-year-old son and killed their family dog.

The device, called an M-44, is spring-loaded to discharge poisonous sodium cyanide powder if it is pulled on. In particular, they are used by the USDA and Wildlife Services to kill coyotes, foxes, wolves, and cougars they believe pose a risk to homes, livestock, and hiking trails. The devices are scent-baited, making them attractive to dogs as well.

The most recent incident occurred just east of Pocatello, Idaho, as Canyon Mansfield, 14, was walking his three-year-old yellow Lab, Casey, near their family home.

“I see this little pipe that looked like a sprinkler sticking out of the ground,” Canyon told “I go over and touch it. Then it makes a pop sound and it spews orange gas everywhere.”

The powder got into the teen’s left eye and onto his clothing, he said. He only realized his dog was hurt after washing his eye out with snow.

“I look over and see him having a seizure,” Canyon said, adding, “I ran over and he had these glassy eyes. He couldn’t see me, and he had this red stuff coming out of his mouth.”

Though Canyon and his father Mark, a doctor, tried valiantly to resusciatate Casey, the dog was soon dead.

It took hours before the cause of the dog’s death could be linked to the Department of Agriculture’s predator-control program.

“We didn’t know anything about it. No neighborhood notifications, and our local authorities didn’t know anything about them,” Mark said. “The sheriff’s deputies who went up there didn’t even know what a cyanide bomb was,” he noted.

The Wildlife Services said on Friday that the incident near Pocatello was the first “unintentional lethal take of a dog” by an M-44 in Idaho since 2014. Note that that's only three years.

Canyon was taken to hospital for treatment, and the family and Bannock County sheriff’s deputies that had responded to the incident had their blood tested for possible cyanide poisoning.

“Wildlife Services understands the close bonds between people and their pets and sincerely regrets such losses,” R. Andre Bell, a spokesman for the US Department of Agriculture, said in a statement. “Wildlife Services has removed M-44s in that immediate area. Wildlife Services is completing a thorough review of the circumstances of this incident, and will work to review our operating procedures to determine whether improvements can be made to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences happening in the future,” it continues.

The statement added that M-44s are only planted at the request of property owners, claiming the service “posts signs and issues other warnings to alert pet owners when wildlife traps or other devices are being used in an area for wildlife damage management.”

But clearly that's not completely accurate, as no one in the area seemed to know why the cyanide bomb was there - including local authorities, such as at the sheriff's office.

“The USDA’s statement regarding the horrific incident that happened to my family yesterday is both disrespectful and inaccurate,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “The USDA intentionally refers to the brutal killing of our dog as a ‘take’ to render his death trivial and insignificant,” she stressed.

“They also claim that the killing of an unintended victim is a rare occurrence, but this is entirely untrue. In fact, this issue is nationally recognized due to the lack of selectivity of cyanide bombs, and there have been many reported incidents in which unintended animals and people have been targeted,” she told the Idaho State Journal.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said no notice had been given to local authorities about the placement of M-44s in the area.

“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, as cited by Reuters, adding that he would be meeting the federal authorities this week to “get to the bottom of it.”

What an awful tragedy.

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Anti-Coyote ‘Cyanide Bomb’ Injures 14yr Old Boy and Kills His Dog in Idaho Anti-Coyote ‘Cyanide Bomb’ Injures 14yr Old Boy and Kills His Dog in Idaho Reviewed by matt on 14:18:00 Rating: 5
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