Merkley Introduces Legislation to Keep Families and Pets Safe in the Outdoors

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today introduced Canyon’s Law in the United States Senate, a bill aimed at banning the M-44 ejector – a spring-loaded device filled with sodium cyanide used to kill predators. The problem with these devices: they’re indiscriminate in what sets them off. 

“Cyanide bombs do not belong on public lands,” said Merkley. “These dangerous devices have no safeguard for our families and our pets, threatening animals and humans alike. More effective, safe, and humane predator control options are available, and should be the only options used on public lands.” 

M-44s are small traps made up of a stake that is driven into the ground with a spring and a canister loaded with the powdered poison, sodium cyanide. Once they’re set, the traps resemble sprinkler heads, and when triggered, the M-44 ejects a cloud of cyanide meant to kill coyotes, wild dogs, or foxes. 

Canyon’s Law is named after Canyon Mansfield, an Idaho boy whose dog unfortunately came into contact with an M-44 while walking along public lands in 2017. Unknowingly, his dog activated a M-44 device, and Canyon watched helplessly as his beloved companion suffered a cruel and painful death. Fortunately for Canyon, the wind pushed much of the cyanide away from him, yet he still suffers health effects five years later. 

A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), and today, DeFazio held a hearing on Canyon’s Law in the House Natural Resources Committee.  

“These cruel and deadly devices kill family pets and hundreds of unintended wildlife,” said Rep. DeFazio. “People have been injured as well and unless we ban these devices, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. There are other proven, low-cost, and established ways to protect livestock.”

Canyon’s Law is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). 

Canyon’s Law is supported by Predator Defense, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, and the Western Watersheds Project. 

Final bill text can be found here