Dog killed in trapping accident; family wants warning signs

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SANDY — A late-night walk Tuesday ended tragically for a 15-year-old Sandy boy who watched his dog drown in a neighborhood park.

The trouble began when the dog stepped into a trap — one the family believes should have been clearly marked with warning signs, but wasn't.

"We've been down here before, so no big deal," Ben Smith said, describing his walk to Creekside Park. "And the next thing I know, he's got a trap around his head."

The trap was put near Creekside Park by a professional trapper to catch beavers.

"The phone call came, and Ben was screaming on the phone, ‘Okami's dying! There's nothing I can do! Okami's dying!'" his mother, Deana Smith, said.

Okami struggled to free himself, but couldn't. Ben tried to get the trap off Okami's neck, but the dog bit his hand in a panic.

"I guess he snapped another trap on his foot and then jumped into the creek, where he drowned himself afterwards," Deana said.

Ben tried to get the dog out of the water, but he kept moving farther away from the bank. Deana couldn't save him either.

The bindings from two traps had wrapped around Okami, making it impossible for him to get his head above water.

"I think it's just a very unfortunate situation," said Scott Earl, director of Sandy's Parks and Recreation division.

Earl said the city hired the trappers to catch the beavers. "Then we place responsibility on the trapper to set the traps on the north side of the stream and in areas the public couldn't get to," he said.

But that didn't happen. With no posted warnings, Ben and Deana Smith are left to wonder.

"Why no signs?" Deana said. "There's no reason for us not to have some kind of warning. It could have been someone else's kid, someone else's animal."

Sandy City has since removed the traps at Creekside Park.

The Smith is devastated by their loss and simply hope since trapping animals was legal in this instance, more notice be given by the city near this neighborhood.


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Andrew Wittenberg


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