A young fox was left with “horrific” injuries and had to be put down after getting caught in an illegal trap in Coulsdon.
Investigators from the RSPCA are appealing for information after the animal badly damaged its front leg trying to shake off the trap in Brighton Road on Sunday, January 3.
Now the charity fears there may be other similar traps set in the area, and have warned pet owners to be vigilant.
RSPCA inspector Lucy Chillery said: “Setting these traps is just outrageous and makes my blood boil. It’s despicable and I have my fears that it is not the only one out there.”
After getting caught in the outlawed ‘gin trap’, which is a toothed leghold trap, the fox was seen jumping over bushes and fences in the Brighton Road area, trying to release itself.
Ms Chillery added: “I don’t know how long the poor fox had been suffering trying to escape from this trap. It was so distressing to see the fox trying to get away dragging around this monstrous contraption.
“He must have been in complete agony and was in such a bad way sadly the only thing we could do was put him to sleep. It was such an horrific injury.”
“It is so sad, and absolutely disgusting that this kind of trap is being used in this day and age. They are not designed to kill, they are designed to trap and hold the animal until the person who set the trap comes to deal with the animal, but they do cause severe injuries and much suffering so their use has been banned since 1954.
“The person who set it certainly has no concern about animal welfare. Due to heavy rain recently it is likely that the fox managed to pull the retaining pin out of the ground and run away into local gardens.”
“They are completely indiscriminate and could easily seriously harm a person or someone’s pet dog or cat as well as wildlife.”
Anyone with information about the trap or who may have set it should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.