Outrage has greeted an incident in Cardigan where a mother, accompanied by her toddler son, was horrified to see a cat with its shattered leg caught in a cruel and illegal gin trap.
The RSPCA is investigating the matter and has warned residents in part of the town to be vigilant in case there are more traps set, which could maim or kill other animals.
Denise Phillips and her three-year-old son Iestyn were walking in Station Road just before midday when the black and white tomcat, which is understood to have been living wild in the area, appeared with its front leg caught in the serrated jaws of the gin trap.
The terrified moggy struggled across the road, and went into undergrowth.
Denise contacted her father-in-law Glan Evans, who in turn alerted the RSPCA.
Local officer Richard Abbott was quickly on the scene and took the suffering animal, still in the trap, to Teifi Veterinary Centre in St Mary Street.
After sedating the cat surgeon Emily McArthur found the trap had cut through the bone, and she humanely put the animal down.
“If it had been a pet I may have amputated the leg, but being it was feral the best option was to put it down,” she said.
A shocked Denise said: “It was a really sickening sight. I have never seen an animal in such distress, and this was extremely cruel.”
Richard Abbott warned people living in the Station Road, Castle Street, Tenby Road and Golwg y Castell areas to be on the lookout for further traps.
“I am dismayed that an animal lost its life through someone setting a lethal trap.
“I would like to hear from anyone who thinks they know who owns the trap,” he said, and gave an assurance that any information would be treated in confidence.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “We are 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,” she said.