In the court's ruling, which has been criticized by animal welfare advocates, it said that the "new leghold trapping systems ... do not operate as 'jaws,' having only one part that moves to ensnare the animal when the animal pulls on a lever with its paw, requiring a level of manual dexterity not available to other species such as dogs."
Liss said the closed traps might reduce the number of dogs who can get hurt, but "certainly, cats are more dexterous and behave in a way like raccoons do."
But, putting aside concerns about pets, is trapping wild animals this way humane, or even necessary?
Hajna said these traps have been thoroughly studied by various wildlife agencies and are in use in many states. But Liss said the studies purporting to find the traps humane aren't properly peer-reviewed and are pseudoscience at best.
"Raccoons are, in New Jersey, the primary carriers of rabies," Hajna said. "The trapping provides a management tool. Without some sort of control any animal will expand and its populations will grow and that increases the risk to ecological balance, as well as public safety."
Place pointed out that for more than 30 years the state has been able to successfully manage opossums and raccoons in other ways. "The rabies concern seems like a pretty trumped up claim," she said.