Assemblymember Das Williams recently proposed a bill aimed at ensuring humane wildlife treatment by wildlife trapping industries.

Private nuisance wildlife control operators are currently licensed by the state of California to trap and dispose of animals posing a nuisance to consumers for a “damage control” fee. According to Williams however, some of these trappings cause cruel and unnecessary suffering in animals. Under the authority of NCWO’s permit, some of the animals that are often trapped and euthanized include birds, raccoons, opossums and domestic pets.

William’s proposal, Bill 789, would ban certain methods of killing and trapping animals in order to protect domestic pets that are unintentionally injured.

“Sometimes things have to be done, but should be done in the most humane way possible,” Williams said. “Some of the current methods include drowning, chest crushing and injecting animals with chemicals that are not meant to euthanize animals like solvents for cleaning paint.”

With this bill, Williams aims to protect animals or at the very least to handle wildlife in the most humane way possible.

“If you’re going to euthanize animals it should be done with stuff that is designed to kill,” Williams said, “not solvents used to clean paint.”

Williams said wildlife and animal activists have informed him of the cruel and unintentional ways domestic animals get hurt.

“There have been 134 documented cases of these traps killing domestic dogs and cats,” Williams said. “Obviously [the traps are] not being very discriminate in their targeting.”

The bill will have to go Santa Barbara’s District Assembly and then gain approval from a committee prior to reaching the Senate for final approval. According to Williams, though the bill may find opposition, there is a large demographic concerned about animal welfare that wants to see the bill passed.

“I think this is a reasonable measure. This does not ban any trapping, it just bans certain methods that are not to be particularly cruel,” Williams said.

Animal owners like fourth-year psychology major Diana Gonzalez said it is important to bring this issue to attention in order to keep their animals safe.

“As a dog owner, I cannot imagine losing my dog due to a Conibear trap placed in an area that domestic animals are around,” Gonzalez said. “I feel that it is important to speak up for animals in order to ensure that we are being as kind and respectful as possible.”

A version of this article appeared on page 3 of March 1st, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.

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