There is a highly disturbing case out of Idaho where a 14-year-old boy and his ellow Labrador retriever, Casey, were poisoned by a “cyanide bomb” planted by U.S. government. In a truly baffling act, the Wildlife Services of U.S. Department of Agriculture planted the device to kill coyotes, wolves, cougars, foxes and other animals considered nuisances for farmers and ranchers. It seems unbelievably reckless to me to place these devices near trails and farms, even with signs that might be missed in the dark or lost to weather conditions.
Canyon Mansfield, 14, was playing with Casey near their home when he touched what he thought looked like a sprinkler head. The device erupted and sprayed them with toxic cyanide gas. Casey died at the scene despite efforts by Canyon;’s father, a physician, to save the dog.
The device is a M-44 and the government has been sued of its use. Various public interest groups argue that the devices violate federal law and put both animals and humans at risk. That would seem a compelling argument when the government is placing devices that shoot toxic gas into the air when triggered hear trails or farms. I cannot imagine the logic behind this practice, particularly near populated areas. Indeed, the local sheriff has said that he was not only never informed of the devices but never heard of them.
In prior litigation like San Juan Audubon Soc’y v. Veneman, 153 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2001), the environmental groups alleged that the government’s use of its M-44 sodium cyanide ejectors program violates federal rules set by the EPA and that the government regularly misplace the M-44s, leading to the deaths of California condors and other threatened or endangered animals.
This strikes me as a really reckless program and one worthy of potential liability. In the interim, the entire program warrants congressional scrutiny.
What do you think?