April 16, 11:16 PM
S.B. 994, An Act Concerning Leghold Traps, proposes to ban the use of leghold and Conibear traps in Connecticut. The original note on the fiscal impact of the law indicated that there would be minimal effect. The Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), however, has now corrected that initial assessment, based in part on an analysis of the experience of Massachusetts in struggling with its 1996 trapping ban.
The predicted cost to the state in lost revenues is estimated at $15,464 per year due to the loss of trapping licenses through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The estimated cost to the state in additional expenses associated with nuisance-animal management is $482,000 in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
The estimated additional cost to Connecticut municipalities for nuisance-animal control is $92,000, as the services of volunteer trappers would no longer be available to Connecticut towns for the removal of problem beavers, and the towns would thus need to employ professional trapping companies.
The OFA cannot estimate other likely costs of the proposed trap ban: flooded basements, damaged roads, and contaminated drinking water due to flooding from beaver dams; increased damage to corn crops by raccoons; additional poultry losses to foxes and fishers; the loss of family pets to coyote predation. The list goes on and on.
Bad wildlife management is expensive. We might hope that the Humane Society of the United States, the key lobbyist for S.B. 994, will be willing to cover the costs if the law passes. But we all know that won’t happen. Connecticut taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.