The Department of Agriculture Almost Killed a 14-Year Old With a Cyanide Bomb


In an effort to deliver on their constitutionally enumerated obligation to control the coyote population, the U.S. Department of Agriculture almost killed an Idaho teenager with a poison gas, and was successful in killing his dog.

You really can’t make this stuff up:

Canyon Mansfield, 14, went on a walk Thursday afternoon with his family’s 3-year-old yellow Labrador, Casey, on a hill behind their Pocatello home on Buck Skin Road.

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

The orange gas was cyanide, and it sprayed into Canyon’s left eye and on his clothing.

The teen grabbed some snow and washed his eye out but then realized Casey was having problems.

The device, known as an M-44, was planted within 300 yards of the Mansfield property in an effort to kill coyotes. Local authorities knew nothing of the bomb, and the Mansfields were not made aware of the devices.

The dog, Casey, died due to cyanide poisoning, and Canyon was hospitalized due to exposure to the deadly gas.

The response from the USDA is about as inhumane and technocratic as you would expect from our bureaucratic cesspool:

“Wildlife Services understands the close bonds between people and their pets and sincerely regrets such losses,” R. Andre Bell, a spokesman for the US Department of Agriculture, said in a statement. “Wildlife Services has removed M-44s in that immediate area … and is completing a thorough review of the circumstances of this incident … to determine whether improvements can be made to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences happening in the future.”

Too often “completing a thorough review” is government code for “fixing the local issue with no intent of changing policy nationally.”

Farmers, ranchers, and property owners can take care of coyotes and other pests on their own. Private citizens would certainly be aware of any anti-wildlife traps on their own property, and for liability reasons would post signage or fences to prevent a kid and his dog from wandering into dangerous territory.

This is another example of mission creep in the federal government, and the unfortunate consequences of federal agencies that try to do too much.