RSPCA officers are appealing for information after a cat was found with an illegal gin trap on his paw.
Owner Ann Hatcher had last seen four-year-old Sid on the evening of April 6. But as she stood by the gate to her home at Double Oak Farm, in Lower Wanborough, Swindon the following day, she heard him making a distressed noise and went to investigate.
Mrs hatcher, who has owned Sid since he was a kitten, said: “As I stopped by the gate I could hear Sid making a terrible noise and calling out to me for help but I could not see.
“I started to look around and realised the sound was coming from underneath our neighbours horse lorry which was parked next door.
“My neighbours are nice people so I knew they would not mind me popping over to get Sid but when I got there I realised he had his foot stuck in a in a gin trap and he was stuck under the lorry as the trap was caught up in the lorry’s airlines.
“He must have picked up the trap someone nearby and managed to drag it most of the way home – but then he got stuck when he was nearly home.
He was rushed to a vet where his right front paw was found to be very swollen but not broken. His paw had been caught in the smooth side part of the trap but had it been crushed in the serrated jaws he would have been badly injured.
Ann added: “Sid is a lovely chap and it is awful to think what happened to him and how much worse it could have been. I would urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the RSPCA so that no other animals are injured in this way.”
RSPCA inspector Steph Daly said: “From the make and rust on the trap it is clearly very old and it broke when it was opened to free the cat.
“However, some recent modifications have been made to it using a Philips screw and some brass so we believe that it has been deliberate set in recent months with the intention of catching an animal of some sort.
“Traps like these are not only illegal but they are cruel and indiscriminate and I would urge anyone with information about whoever set it to contact the RSPCA so we can ensure there are no other gin traps in the area.”
Anyone with information can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and leave a message for Inspector Daly. Calls are treated in confidence.
Gin traps, which are illegal under the 1954 Pests Act, have toothed or serrated jaws, giving them the ability to hold their prey – usually by the leg – without killing it.
The RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and any traps which cause suffering. The Society believes there is no body-grip trap which does not cause unacceptable suffering.
Under the Animal Welfare 2006 anyone found guilty of causing deliberate suffering to an animal can face a £20,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.