The RSPCA is appealing for information about who is setting snares on waste land in Dunstable in Bedfordshire.
On Wednesday 27 February RSPCA inspector Tina Ward was called about a cat caught in a snare in the land at the back of Buttercup Lane and Hurlock Close.
The member of the public who contacted us had cut the cat free at around eight o’clock in the morning.
Inspector Ward met the caller at around ten o’clock and was shown where the snare had been destroyed only to find another snare already in place:
“It was a home-made free running snare and I was told that both this one and the one that had caught the cat were made out of gold picture hanging wire.
“One of my colleagues also had a report of a cat killed at the same location earlier by a snare of the same design.
“There was no sign of rabbits, but it certainly looks like there are deer and foxes using the location.
“This snare is only large enough to catch cats and rabbits and there was also a fishing line snare, set at the side of it, which was barely visible.”
It is an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which carries a maximum sentence of £20,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to six months.
Snares cannot discriminate between species and any animal that moves through the noose is a potential victim. Surveys of our inspectors cases show that only a third of the animals caught in snares were actually target species.
Cats were trapped in the largest numbers, but many badgers and dogs were also caught.
Inspector Ward said: “Snares can cause a huge amount of pain and distress and can be fatal. People need to be aware that they leave themselves open to prosecution if they are using illegal traps or not setting and checking them correctly.”
“This is a large area used by a lot of dog walkers, I suspect there may be more traps on that land.
“We need to find who is setting them.”
If you have any information on who may be setting these traps please contact our inspector information line in confidence and leave a message for Inspector Ward on 0300 123 8018.
To help the RSPCA investigate situations causing unnecessary suffering to animals you can give £3 by texting the word HELP to 78866 ((texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).