Examining the effects of bodygrip 330 traps on domestic cat (Felis catus) cadavers

  • Rebecca Kagan, DVM, DACVP US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Forensics Laboratory, 1490 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520-1310 USA
  • Jessica Elbert, DVM Department of Pathology, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, 501 DW Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602 USA
  • Max Juriga, DVM Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, 205 Duck Pond Drive, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 USA
Keywords: trap, bodygrip, body grip, wildlife, patohlogy, Felis catus, domestic cat, cause of death

Abstract

Bodygrip traps (also called Conibear traps) are nontoothed kill traps used for furbearers and nuisance wildlife. These traps pose a danger to nontarget animals, such as protected wildlife, domestic animals, and people, more so when used on dry land. Because of the potential for intentional or accidental misuse, diagnosis of bodygrip trap injuries may be of consideration in forensic casework. To determine whether trap-related injuries can be identified to narrow down or confirm the cause of death, standard 330 and Magnum 330 bodygrip traps were used on cadavers of 9 domestic cats (F. catus). Trap jaws were engaged in various locations on the bodies to simulate potential live entrapment situations. The cadavers were then imaged and necropsied. Trap-related damage was present only in one (1/9) cat and consisted of liver fractures, likely augmented by the presence of a full stomach. The remaining cats (8/9) had no grossly or radiographically visible injuries. Findings are consistent with past live animal studies in which trap-related injury was only rarely observed or documented. Because no specific injuries can be attributed to bodygrip traps, the diagnosis must rely on the circumstance and rule out other likely causes of death.

Published
2021-04-08
Section
Pathology