Wildlife advocates lawsuit over trapping rules still alive

The lawsuit by two wildlife advocates who want Nevada’s trapping laws toughened has survived the state’s attempt to get it dismissed.

Don Molde and Mark Smith sued arguing current rules that require trappers to visit their trap lines only every 96 hours are inadequate. They say trappers should be required to visit traps every 24 hours and the Legislature improperly delegated that rulemaking authority to the Wildlife Commission.

In a statement after a district judge ruled against dismissing the lawsuit last week, Smith and Molde also called for trapping reforms to better protect non-target species, animals and birds that are inadvertently caught in traps and snares. They say the Wildlife Department’s own records indicate inadvertent trapping of mountain lions is common with those cats suffering serious paw injuries among other problems.

Molde said the Washoe District court ruled the plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected interest in public lands and wildlife, “because the desire to use or observe an animal species, even for purely aesthetic purposes, is undeniably a cognizable interest for purposes of standing.”

The judge rejected the state’s argument Molde and Smith lack standing to sue over the regulations.

Molde said Wednesday no trial date has been set. He said their lawyer Julie Cavenaugh-Bill is planning to submit a motion for summary judgment on grounds the Legislature didn’t give the commission adequate guidance and the Legislature can’t delegate the power to make law to an executive agency — in this case Wildlife.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment