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Groups call for ban on cyanide traps that kill predator animals

The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s.

BOISE, Idaho — Predator-killing cyanide traps such as one that sickened a boy in Idaho and killed his dog should be banned, environmental groups told the federal government Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s.

The traps look like water sprinkler heads embedded in the ground and spray cyanide when triggered by animals attracted by bait.

The groups said the federal agency should ban the traps that pose a threat to people and pets on public lands and kill non-targeted wildlife.

“This is a good time for the agency to take a serious look because people are really outraged about this,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the center.

The EPA didn’t return a call seeking comment.

In March, one of the devices injured a 14-year-old boy and killed his dog when they encountered it on federally owned land about 500 yards from his home.

The scrutiny intensified after The Associated Press reported the device was on public land despite a decision months earlier by federal officials to halt use of the traps on all U.S.-owned land in Idaho.

Officials say the devices killed about 12,500 coyotes in 2016, mostly in Western states.

The Agriculture Department said a 2015 survey of producers determined that coyotes nationwide killed about 120,000 sheep and lambs valued at up to $20 million.

The cyanide devices are also used to protect cattle.

Environmental groups say the devices over the past 20 years have killed about 40 dogs and injured a handful of people, including the boy in Idaho

In April, federal officials in Idaho placed a temporary ban on the predator traps. Two months later, U.S….

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