A CAT caught in an illegal gin trap on Tuesday is recovering in Chippenham after a vet was left with no option but to amputate her leg.
The tabby and white cat, believed to be two or three years old, has been named Tripod by staff at the Hale Veterinary Group.
Steve Harding who runs Hale Farm bed and breakfast at Quemerford, Calne, found the female cat on Monday morning curled in a tight ball in the corner of a barn.
He had seen her prowling around the farm over the last couple of weeks and thought it strange that she looked tightly curled up.
“On closer investigation I saw there was a dreadful trap on her leg. It is remarkable that she is OK. I spoke to her briefly and then rushed back to the house to telephone the RSPCA.
“It was awful. How could an animal survive that?” he said.
When RSPCA inspector Phil Bussey arrived he gently captured the cat and within seconds had released the trap from its death-like grip around the cat’s leg.
“I cannot believe people set such traps. It was so horrible and it is a relief, thanks to the swift actions of the RSPCA, that she survived her ordeal,” said Mr Harding.
RSPCA spokesman Lucy Clark said the trap, which has been illegal since 1954, had probably been somewhere in the fields surrounding the farm.
“Such traps are completely indiscriminate in nature with sharp metal teeth which could possibly take a child’s hand off,” she said.
Lucy Haine, head nurse at the veterinary practice, said: “The cat was shocked and confused and in a bad way when she came in and we gave her treatment for the pain straight away.
“The leg wasn’t a very nice sight at all and there was no question of saving it.
“It took about 45 minutes to do the operation and she seems fine now.
“She is very friendly and just looks like your average moggy.
“Hopefully somebody will give her a nice home.”
It is thought Tripod may belong to someone living on the nearby housing estate although staff at Hale have not ruled out the possibility she is a stray.
She will spend a few days with the vets before being taken to the RSPCA centre at Claverton Down for re-homing.
Tripod’s operation cost £150 and was paid for by the RSPCA.
The charity’s national helpline for reporting such incidents is: (08705) 555999.
Anyone who knows anything of Tripod’s owners or has any information should contact the Hale Veterinary Group on (01249) 653561.
Update 5 April 2002: Back Home But Minus a Leg
A PET cat, which was rescued by the RSPCA after becoming caught in an illegal gin trap, has been reunited with her owners more than two weeks after she went missing from her Wiltshire home.
Mo, a tabby and white female cat, had to have her leg amputated after she was discovered caught in the trap in an outbuilding on a farm in Quemerford, near Calne, on March 18.
She was rushed to Hale Vets in Chippenham by RSPCA inspector Phil Bussey and later underwent an operation to remove her front, right leg, which had been severely damaged by the metal-toothed device.
Mo’s owners, James and Wendy Macleod, who had given up all hope of finding their lost cat, saw a renewed RSPCA appeal for information about her .
They rang Hale Vets, and then positively identified their missing pet at the RSPCA’s Bath Cats and Dogs Home on Good Friday. Mo, who had been nicknamed Phillipa by staff at the centre after the RSPCA inspector who rescued her, is now safely back at home in Lower Compton.
Mr and Mrs Macleod, who have two children aged five and eight, had originally adopted Mo from a rescue organisation in Devizes about a year ago and were planning to have her microchipped just before she was last seen on March 12.
Mr Macleod said: “When we collected her from the centre we were shocked at what had happened to her but also relieved to have her back. She’s always been a little bit of a feral cat and would disappear out hunting for several days before coming back home. Obviously when we hadn’t seen her for ten days we got very concerned and started looking for her. She was never very much of a cuddly cat before this dreadful incident happened. Now she seems to like a lot more fuss, which is great, and we will definitely be getting her microchipped.”
Inspector Bussey said: “We are over the moon that this story has had a happy ending and would like to thank Hale Vets and all the local media for their efforts in helping track down Mo’s owners and highlighting the horror of gin traps. We would still urge anyone who knows who was responsible for setting this lethal device to contact us as soon as possible.”
The RSPCA’s national cruelty and advice line number is 08705 555999. Calls are charged at the national rate and can be dealt with in confidence.
Source : Swindon Advertiser