A neighborhood petition led the Andover City Council to prohibit the trapping and killing of non-rodent animals on public land on and around Round Lake.
The new ordinance still allows residents to kill mice, rats, moles and other small rodents and non-lethal cages can be used to trap nuisance animals, but it is now forbidden to put out mechanical devices to snare, capture, hold or kill other animals.
Private landowners can still trap on their own land or permit others to do so.
Lee Warneka lives on the west side of Round Lake and came to the Oct. 15 council meeting with a petition signed by 30 neighbors requesting this new ordinance.
“Round Lake surrounding development and increase in density makes this area unsafe and unsuitable for trapping as it has been for hunting,” Warneka said.
According to Warneka, last fall while doing exterior work on his home he saw a person placing traps. There was disagreement between the two men about whether this was allowed and the trapper told Warneka that he should not touch his traps,
Sometime later, after hearing the cries of an animal dying, Warneka called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and believes he talked to a pro-trapper who did not follow up on his complaint, he said.
Warneka had also heard that a neighborhood dog was injured in a trap that was put on Round Lake when it was frozen, but he was unable to find out who owns the dog.
When this item came to the council, city staff initially thought it would be best to not allow trapping on any public land. Trapping was already not allowed in any city park such as Kelsey Round Lake Park, but this would have covered all non-park land that is not privately owned.
“The thought is you’d probably have other lakes, other public waters where you’d like to prohibit them so why just select Round Lake and not make it consistent throughout the community,” Community Development Director David Carlberg said.
However, the council was hesitant to make this a citywide law when only one neighborhood has brought concerns forward and most trappers are probably following Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trapping laws.
Nobody spoke during the Nov. 19 public hearing. Carlberg said a notice was published in the Anoka County Union in the public notices section and the petitioner was notified of the hearing, but no other people were directly notified.
“We’re basically probably going after one person in that area, but now the city can enforce it instead of waiting for a DNR conversation officer,” Councilmember Julie Trude said.
According to Councilmember Mike Knight and Trude, trapping is necessary for farmers in certain circumstances.
For example, a farmer may need to protect their chickens from foxes, Knight said.
Andover City Hall does have cages for live trapping that residents can use. Carlberg has heard that raccoons and possums are typically being captured.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]