A cat owner has spoken of her shock after her beloved pet had to have one of its legs amputated after getting caught in a suspected illegal trap.

Becky Tungate with Belle, her one-year-old cat that had to have its leg amputated after being caught in an illegal gin trap in the forest near their Thetford home.

One-year-old Belle is recovering at home and coming to terms with losing one of her nine lives after becoming victim to what is believed to have been a gin trap near her Thetford home.

Her owner Becky Tungate, of Elgin Way, called on residents to be vigilant yesterday after the maimed cat was trapped in woods near the Abbey Estate.

The 27-year-old said she and her six-year-old daughter Lauren McCormick were left distraught by the incident, which happened on Saturday, April 26.

Miss Tungate said she started to get concerned for the welfare of Belle after she found blood on her patio at 7.30am and no sign of her black cat. Her family began a search of the estate and local woods before her pet was found limping up Elgin Way three hours later with part of her right front leg missing.

Miss Tungate, who has had to fork out more than £500 in veterinary bills, said it was a “miracle” that her cat had survived the injury and blood loss. Belle had to have her leg amputated up to her shoulder blade and spent four days at Eastgate Veterinary Surgery, in Thetford.

It is believed that the injury was caused by the spring-operated jaws of a gin trap, which have been outlawed in the UK since the 1950s.

Miss Tungate, who reported the incident to Norfolk Police and the RSPCA, said: “It is horrific when something like this happens to an animal, but a lot of children play in the forest and I want to make people aware of what could be in the forest. It is bad enough for this to happen to a family pet and I don’t want it to happen to a child.”

“I do not understand it and I feel angry that it has happened. My cat is like a family member and my daughter was so upset and beside herself about it.”

Sophie Wilkinson, spokeswoman for the RSPCA, said inspectors were investigating the potential illegal trapping incident. She added that anyone found guilty of setting a gin trap or snare, which causes unnecessary suffering to an animal, faces a maximum £20,000 fine and/or six months in prison.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

Source: EDP24

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