In March 2017, a pipe had exploded in the hills outside of Pocatello, Idaho, and the son of a local doctor was injured. The long time detective, Tony Manu, was on the case and detailed his disbelief because they were not aware that there was a pipe bomb in the area.
According to the report published by The Guardian, Manu went to the home of Dr. Mansfield and that was when they saw that their family dog was dead and the then 14-year-old son of the doctor, Canyon Mansfield, was injured.
The police report stated that Canyon and his dog were playing in the wood behind the family home. Both stumbled upon a device that sprayed them in the face with a dose of sodium cyanide. The boy was able to clean the poison out of his eyes but the dog collapsed and started convulsing.
Dr. Mansfield wanted to give the dog CPR but Canyon told him that if he did, he will get infected as well. Detective Manu and his team found out that the cyanide bomb was not done by a terrorist or random group, but it was installed by a federal employee on official business.
Canyon's mother, Theresa Mansfield, said that the United States government put a cyanide bomb 350 ft from their house, and it killed their dog and poisoned her child.
Three years later, she and her husband are still in the middle of a legal and political campaign to hold the government accountable and to ban the use of cyanide bombs across the United States. What alarmed the couple is the number of people who had not heard about the US agency that placed the bomb.
The Wildlife Services has operated in obscurity for years, it also had limited oversight from Congress or the American public.
Housed in the Department of Agriculture, the agency works on behalf of private farmers and ranchers, killing wolves, bears, coyotes, birds, and other animals that cause problems for agricultural interests. According to an artilce published by Biological Diversity, in 2018 the agency exterminated around 1.5 million native animals and a massive number of invasive animals.
There are times when its agents shoot coyotes or wolves from helicopters. There are also times when they employ leg traps and snares and they also place poison devices on private and public land.
Cyanide bombs, also known as M-44s, are baited and spring-loaded tubes that spray an orange plume of cyanide powder when it is triggered. It is aimed at coyotes and other animals that predate livestock, the bombs killed 6,500 animals in 2018 alone.
Peter DeFazio, the congressman of Oregon and a long-time critic of the agency, has described it as more secretive than the Department of Homeland Security. Even local law enforcement agencies are unaware of the extent of the agency's activities.
The supporters of the agency include agriculture organizations. The American Sheep Industry Association called the cyanide bombs as critical tools that have a proven track record of protecting livestock and the environment. However, critics say that the use of the said bombs and the agency that administers them is out of control.