USDA Cyanide Trap Injures Teen, Kills Pet

Idaho teen still has headaches from cyanide poisoning, lawsuit states
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2018 3:54 AM CDT
Family Sues After Government Device Hurts Boy, Kills Dog
This March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff's Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho.   (Bannock County Sheriff's Office via AP, file)

An Idaho teenager is still experiencing headaches more than a year after he was poisoned by a cyanide trap government workers placed just 300 yards from his home, his family says in a lawsuit. Canyon Mansfield, 15, experienced cyanide poisoning symptoms including vomiting for weeks after he accidentally set off the M-44 device, which the US Department of Agriculture had placed to kill coyotes on federal land, the AP reports. "While playing and throwing a toy for his dog," Canyon "noticed a pipe protruding from the ground that he thought looked like a sprinkler pipe," the lawsuit states. "When he reached down and touched the pipe, it exploded with a loud bang." Canyon, who saw his dog Casey convulse and die, got cyanide powder on his clothing and in his left eye, according to the lawsuit.

Parents Mark and Theresa Mansfield of Pocatello are seeking $75,000 in economic damages and at least $75,000 for pain and suffering. "I am frustrated that the government has taken no responsibility," his mother tells the Idaho State Journal. "They poisoned my dog and my child, and fortunately my child survived, but I am frustrated that they continue to want to bring back these cyanide bombs.” Officials said the trap was placed in error and the government had decided to stop using the devices in Idaho months before Canyon was injured. But M-44s—which have killed more than 125,000 coyotes, along with California condors, grizzly bears, other protected species, and dozens of pets—are still used in other states, despite the objections of wildlife advocates, the Washington Post reports. (More cyanide stories.)

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