A HORRIFIED cat owner found his pet in agony after its leg was caught in a vicious trap in Dorchester.
Peter Wood said the cat was trapped for at least 14 hours by the time it was found and rushed to the vet with the trap still biting into its front leg.
He believed the trap may have been put down deliberately to target cats in the Castle Park area of Dorchester where he and girlfriend Sarah Alvin live with their three cats.
Mr Wood said a neighbour discovered their black cat, Meatball, in his garden after hearing it calling.
The cat was in a bush with the rusty metal gin trap clamped on a front leg. But as the neighbour struggled to open the trap, Meatball bolted and disappeared with the trap still clamped to its leg. Mr Wood said: “That was about 10am. We were out at work and my neighbour tried to find Meatball without success so we went on searching all evening.
“It was midnight when I heard him calling from another garden.
“I got in there and found him about six feet up a tree.
“The trap was caught up in the tree and Meatball was just hanging with his whole weight from it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“When my neighbour said the trap was still on Meatball’s paw I thought it must have been a small thing like a mousetrap.
“But this was about 10 inches long and heavy.”
He said Fielding and Cumber had their Weymouth surgery open by the time the couple arrived with Meatball and vet Sarah Styles struggled to get the trap open.
Mr Wood said: “It was like an old fashioned gin trap, horrible.
“It looked almost certain he would lose that leg but the vet has now said there’s a chance he might not.”
RSPCA Inspector Ken Snook said he believed the trap had been set deliberately.
He said: “These traps have been illegal for a very long time.
“This one was rusty but not dirty so I don’t think it had been lying out in a field for years.
“It needed a lot of force to set it so someone had done that to target something.
“I don’t now if they wanted to catch a cat but that’s what they did.
“These traps were supposed to have been staked or pegged down so that an animal couldn’t run off with it but this one wasn’t.
“I’m very disappointed that someone felt the need to set up any form of trap indiscriminately.
“I hope anyone with information comes forward.
“If there is sufficient evidence it could result in a prosecution.”
He added: “Meatball is a lovely cat and a lucky black one that this wasn’t any worse.”
Vet James Thorpe said: “It’s remarkable that there was no bony damage.
“With luck he might recover the use of that paw but the blood supply was stopped for so long that it might still need amputation.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before and I think most vets haven’t either.
“This was like something out of a museum.”
Mr Wood and Miss Alvin have two other cats, Carrot and Marmalade.
Mr Wood said they are concerned for their wellbeing in case someone is targeting cats in their neighbourhood.vets