Dog killed by beaver trap set in Sandy park

Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-13 23:49:42-05

SANDY, Utah - A dog was killed in a Sandy park on Tuesday night and its owner says a beaver trap set in the park is to blame.

15-year-old Ben Smith was walking in Creekside Park, located near 9400 South and 805 West in Sandy, with his dog, on Tuesday night. Ben says that his dog left the pathway. Moments later, the dog triggered a large trap.

"I was walking him and he smelled something. I figured just typical dog, just wanted to go check it out. So I followed him through here and he freaked out. I didn't hear the trap go off. I had music playing," Ben said. "If it was a smaller dog, it would have just decapitated it. It was a large trap; almost decapitated my dog."

As Ben and his dog - a 4-year-old Akita that weighs more than 100 pounds - struggled to get the trap off the dog's face, it fell into a nearby creek and drowned.

"He jumped in the water and kept getting away from me and I couldn't save him," Ben said. 

Ben's mother Deana Smith said that although the water isn't on the wooded path, there is a path to the water.

Sandy City officials say they've had multiple complaints from residents about beavers in the park and hired a private contractor to place beaver traps along the creek last Friday.

"A professional trapper typically tries to put them in a place people can't get to," said Scott Earl, Sandy Parks and Recreation.

Deana says that having large traps in the area without any signs is a safety hazard.

"There's no reason there should have been traps this close to a walkway - this close to a park - without signs," Deana said. You're not going to tip off a beaver, but I want a sign in an area that has traps in it. There's just no reason for it to not be known to the public. This is a neighborhood."

Sandy City says the traps have been pulled as they evaluate how they proceed in the future. They have reached out to the Smith family and are calling this an unfortunate accident.