POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A Pocatello family is taking action to ban the use of cyanide bombs in the United States.
The family's dog was killed and their 14-year-old son Canyon injured by a cyanide bomb in March. The family recently returned from Washington, D.C. where they met with lawmakers to help further legislature banning such devices.
Cyanide bombs, also known as M-44s, are used to get rid of predators and protect livestock. They spray out sodium cyanide, which is a dangerous chemical. The Mansfield family said there are better methods than cyanide bombs to help with predators.
Just about 300 yards behind the Mansfield family's home is where a cyanide bomb was placed by Wildlife Services, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. Canyon Mansfield and Casey were out walking when they accidentally came across it and set it off.
"Canyon was a wrist-width away from being sprayed in the face," said Mark Mansfield, Canyon's father. "It's hard to think that Canyon could have died too."
Now Canyon and his family are trying to pass Canyon's Law, which would ban the use of cyanide bombs in the U.S.
"There are 16 states that use them," Mark Mansfield said. "That's 16 too many and we want Idaho to spear head this legislation to ban them."
So the family traveled to Washington, D.C. and met personally with several lawmakers, including Idaho's representatives.
"I thought it was important that we went," said Theresa Mansfield, Canyon's mom. "I don't think that people would have listened. I think it's important to have a face-to-face conversation."
"I questioned whether we would be able to get anything done but I was joyfully surprised and on the way back home, just thrilled because got an excellent response from Senators and congressmen on both sides of the aisle, especially our own," Mark Mansfield said.
"I feel like if they read my story and they felt it through words on a page, they would not get most of the emotion and feeling out of it," Canyon Mansfield said. "But when I come face-to-face with them, and I tell them what happened and they see my emotion, they get more persuaded."
Mark Mansfield said there are 100 to 200 domestic dogs killed by cyanide bombs each year. He said there are so many better, non-violent methods that the USDA could consider for predator control.
The Manfields feel their trip was successful. Mark Mansfield said for those who are still unconvinced, he wonders what will convince them.
"If you weren't with us, do I have to drag in a dead body for you to change your mind?"
Mark Mansfield said he feels that if something isn't done, that's likely what will happen - people will start falling victim to the cyanide bombs.
Canyon Mansfield said he'd just like to see the law pass for Casey.
"I feel as if he would have wanted this," he said.
Canyon's Law still has a long ways to go. Mark Mansfield said it would need about 218 votes in the House and 51 in the Senate to pass. They hope that others will help them and talk to their state legislators. They feel the more voices, the better.
The family said they would like to thank Peter D'Fazio, from Oregon, and Brooks Fahey from Predator Defense. They said they have been very instrumental in helping to move this legislation along.