Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


Capitol Busted for Using Illegal Body Gripping Animal Traps

| Share

by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

General Administration’s been busted for using illegal traps—a torturous device described as “body-gripping”--to kill moles on Washington Capitol grounds and Governor’s mansion. The animal traps have been banned 10 years through an initiative.

That surprised another state agency--Department of Fish and Wildlife—the agency which enforces the law against “body-gripping” traps for animals. Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a warning to the General Administration Department February, the identical action the agency would take with a residential homeowner found using the illegal traps.

As it turns out, the General Administration’s been using the spring-loaded steel traps for years to kill moles in late winter months. The Administration says the moles do significant damage to Capitol grounds, with department spokesman Valandra issuing statement: “We want to get to the moles before they start breeding.”

The General Administration department claims it supposedly thought the traps had been exempted from the law, according to Valandra—meaning one of two things, both startling: either the department remains oblivious to laws, or ignores them. It actually owns and uses seven of the illegal traps, to kill roughly a couple of dozen moles per year as the traps are moved around the grounds, to lure the critters.

Supposedly the illegal mole traps ceased in February, after Representative Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) received a phone call from a constituent who spotted one of the “body-gripping” traps by a walking trail by the old state Conservatory. Kretz checked the traps—and became convinced the traps were banned by the 2000 initiative, unpopular in his northeastern Washington district.

“A private citizen would be in trouble for using these traps,” Kretz said, noting a safety concern. “I was worried about a kid coming along and putting their hand in there.”

Kretz is familiar with the fact that the law pertaining to the illegal “body-gripping” traps—torturous to animals--has not been amended, because he’s tried to get some exemptions for landowners in remote areas, unsuccessfully. So Kretz knew which government agency to call.

A spokesman for Fish and Wildlife, Craig Bartlett, found it odd that the General Administration was using the illegal animal traps for 10 years after they’d been outlawed—which obviously would have been longer had the agency not been busted. Despite the fact that the two agencies are located only a street apart—or physically across the street from one another--Fish and Wildlife is treating the illegal trap usage by General Administration identically to that of any regular person caught using one of the illegal traps for the first time: a warning, followed by an investigation.

Interestingly enough, while other agencies such as police, are held to a higher standard because of their familiarity and knowledge of law—apparently agencies like the General Administration fall exempt from that treatment.

No private citizen has received more than a warning for using the specific type of illegal and inhumane trap---though several commercial exterminators have been cited for using the “body-gripping” traps. The animal traps are apparently so effective that use is thought to provide a pest control company with an unfair advantage in extermination or remedy.

Valandra agrees that the illegal traps are effective--General Administration will now have to look into other methods for remedying its pest problem and killing the moles found on Capitol grounds. The Administration’s applied for a permit for other types of trap—traps that are legal to use.

It’s rejected a tactic the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department utilized in combat of its ground squirrel influx at the Arboretum: pumping propane into the holes—then igniting the propane, with obvious results.

Valandra says, “We’re [General Administration] not thinking about using that [pest control method],” he said. “We heard it didn’t work well anyway. The ground squirrels came back.” Since we don’t condone setting humans on fire, it’s a bit controversial, and plain stupefying, that we’d allow animals to be trapped and fried underground--blocked from any exit--at our hands. Certainly doesn’t sound any more humane that “body-gripping” trips.


United States Capitol
1st St NE
Washington, DC
United States
38° 54' 13.0824" N, 77° 0' 21.1212" W
| Share
No votes yet