RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information after a cat was seriously injured by a suspected gin tap near Llandysul.
Ilka dragged herself home with a horrific leg injury, and managed to get back to her garden where her shocked owners found her. They took her straight to the vets, where she was given immediate treatment. Sadly, due to her serious injury her leg was amputated.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “Poor Ilka has suffered tremendously and must have ripped herself away from the trap which has resulted in the amputation of her leg. Due to her injuries and the markings on her leg, the vet has suspected that it was caused by a gin trap, which are illegal.”
The trap may have been set in field or hedges in the Croeslan area near Llandysul where Ikla was found injured on 18 June.
Inspector Hogben said: “While whoever set this trap probably didn’t expect to capture a cat, they still broke the law – it is illegal to set a gin trap whether or not it catches anything. Gin traps have to be purposefully set in order to catch an animal so this can’t have been an accident.
“We are appealing to anyone with information about this incident to please get in touch by calling our inspectorate appeal line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.
“We would also ask local people to be vigilant to keep an eye out for these traps. Not only is it illegal to set a gin trap, it is also illegal to cause an animal to suffer as a result, and domestic animals often fall foul of these traps. Sadly we are seeing an increase in these traps in mid and west Wales.”
Ikla’s owner said they were “shocked and extremely angry” by what had happened.
“It was horrendous. She was spotted dragging herself back across the field, desperate to get home.
“Because the vet thought that Ilka may have damaged nerves in her back in the struggle to get out of the trap, it was touch and go for a few days as whether or not she would survive. Thankfully, she was eventually deemed fit enough to have the operation and her leg was amputated on Wednesday (21 June). She has since been back for a check-up and the vet is pleased with her recovery, although she is quite unsteady on her feet.
“I am angry that someone could have set a gin trap at all, but to do so this close to residential properties shows a callous disregard to the suffering of all animals. I wouldn’t want other cats, or any animal for that matter, to be injured and have to go through the pain and fear that Ilka did.”
Gin traps are mechanical traps designed to catch an animal by their leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge. If any legal spring trap has been modified by having teeth cut into the jaws or fencing staples welded onto them, they are also illegal.
The use of gin traps has been outlawed in the UK since 1958, but some are still being illegally used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes. The sale or possession of such traps is not illegal, but the RSPCA wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution by setting a gin trap.
Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal faces an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence. Should you wish to help the RSPCA investigate incidents such as these, you can donate online.