COEUR d'ALENE - Another Kootenai County family is dealing with the loss of a beloved pet to the jaws of a body-gripping trap.
Sarah Miller, of Post Falls, was out for a Sunday afternoon hike - horn hunting with relatives and Loyal, the family dog - when it happened. They were near the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, a few miles up Old River Road, not far from Miller's parents' home in Kellogg.
The 2-year-old "pit/Great Dane cross" encountered the trap about 20 feet off the road, up a deer trail.
"It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen," Miller said. "He was gurgling."
With her father, she tried to release the jaws of the trap from the dog's body, but it wouldn't budge.
"Within 30 seconds, his oxygen was cut off and he was dead," Miller said.
She's uncertain whether the trap was on forest land or a timber company's property.
Miller said her 12-year-old son witnessed the dog's death.
"He was an awesome, awesome dog," she said.
Earlier this month, The Press reported a similar situation that occurred in late December near Coeur d'Alene. Pat and Kim Boland's 4-year-old black Lab was killed in the same type of trap on state endowment lands in the Cougar Gulch area.
Loyal, a rescue dog Miller's family brought home from the humane society, had narrowly escaped death once before.
He had been left to starve in a cage, Miller said.
"His brother died in the cage on the way to the shelter, but he made it," she said. "And there was not a mean bone in his body."
Miller said she called Idaho Fish and Game to find out if the trapper should have placed signs in the area, warning of the trap's presence. She said she was told there was no requirement that the area be marked.
Because the trap lacked an identification tag with its owner's name on it, Miller said the wildlife agency representative indicated there was nothing they could do.
Miller said she has done some research since Sunday, and learned there are steps that can be taken to free pets who are ensnared by traps.
"You have seconds to save your animal, but you have a chance if you know what to do," she said.
Miller said she would like to see laws put in place regulating the use of body-grip-type traps, particularly size limits restricting the use of large traps like the one that killed Loyal.
"In Wisconsin, that size trap is illegal," Miller said. "How many of these traps kill dogs? I think it's a lot more than anyone wants to say."