Grand Island residents sound off on animal trapping law

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — Grand Island’s town hall was packed and very noisy Monday night.

Residents came to weigh-in on a proposed law that would ban animal trapping on public land on the Island.

Those in favor of a ban feel it’s a public safety issue and also inhumane; those against it said it’s necessary in order to control animal populations like coyotes.

Grand Island’s Town Supervisor said he’d never seen a public hearing so crowded.

Even before the hearing, residents in support of the ban were protesting outside.

“Anyone in the town should be able to take a hike or walk on the land that’s public owned and not fear traps. And since they’re hidden and concealed, whether it’s a person walking their dog, a child out there, people wouldn’t know that the traps are there,” said Nicole Gerber.

She and her fiance Dave Reilly are leading the charge to ban tapping on public land on Grand Island.

They told News 4 their dog almost walked into one while on a public road.

On the other side of aisle Monday night, was 17-year-old Josh Shipman.

“I trap coyotes. And I trap raccoon, muskrat, mink, a lot of animals,” he said.

He traps mostly for sport, and sells the hides of the animals he catches.

He feels public land is as much his as anyone else’s

“I have never caught a cat or a dog, ever while I was trapping.”

He insisted that he’s never caught any animal he didn’t mean to.

The Town Superior said there’s been no reports of pets being accidentally trapped by any legal traps on the island. Town officials told residents Monday that this proposed law can’t stop people from setting illegal ones.

Monday night was a public comment period. The town board will take an official vote at a later date.

Sound off in our poll on whether or not public land should be allowed to be used for trapping animals.

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