National News

Teen sprayed by 'cyanide bomb' visits D.C. to push for laws banning the devices

Posted June 14

— The family of a Pocatello teenager sprayed by a "cyanide bomb" that killed their dog is in the nation's capital this week lobbying for legislation to make the explosives illegal.

Canyon Mansfield, 14, was sprayed by an M-44 cyanide device outside his home while walking the family's 3-year-old yellow Labrador, Casey, on March 16.

"I see this little pipe that looked like a sprinkler sticking out of the ground," Canyon told EastIdahoNews.com in March. "I go over and touch it. Then it makes a pop sound and it spews orange gas everywhere."

Casey died within minutes and Canyon was rushed to Portneuf Medical Center for treatment.

The M-44 had been placed on Bureau of Land Management property bordering the Mansfield's home by a USDA Wildlife Services employee. The controversial devices are used for predator control and the Mansfields believe they should be banned nationwide.

"We're pushing for Canyon's Law, which is House Bill 1817, that will make it a federal law so no person in this United States can place a cyanide bomb or a Compound 1080 on any lands in the U.S.," Mark Mansfield, Canyon's father, said during a FaceTime interview from Washington D.C.

In April, the USDA's Wildlife Services program said it was temporarily halting the use of M-44s on all private, state and federal lands in Idaho.

The Mansfields believe the ban should apply in every state and say they have received nothing but support from farmers and ranchers.

"Most of the ranchers in our community that we've talked to have no reservations," Mansfield said. "They don't want these devices on their property. They want Wildlife Services to have a less lazy, less indiscriminate approach to their predator control."

The Mansfields plan to meet with Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Jim Risch, Congressman Mike Simpson and several other lawmakers this week.

One group they won't be seeing? The U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We've never heard from the USDA. We don't expect or want an apology at this point but one would think that if you attempted to murder my child and you did kill my dog right outside of my home that you would at least have some of your people talk to us, approach us or try to connect with us," Mansfield said.

For about a month following the cyanide discharge, Canyon had severe headaches and trouble sleeping, according to his father.

Since then, he's doing well and the soon-to-be ninth grader hopes federal legislation will pass so no one else has to experience what he's been through.

"We think it's the best thing for our country and the people in our country," Mansfield said.

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