RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information after a cat returned to her Abercynon home with a illegal gin trap caught on her back left leg.
Six-year-old Clover was found extremely distressed by her owner who found her on Sunday (28 October) after she managed to drag the trap home. A neighbour managed to get some tools to prize the trap open and release the leg and Clover was taken to an out of hours vets for emergency treatment. The gin trap had been covered in peanut butter.
RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “Clover must be made of strong stuff as luckily the trap did not break her leg, but it must have caused her a considerable amount of pain and distress.
“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 and this one also had peanut butter on it.
“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 don’t know where this trap was set, which may have been set to catch a badger.
“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.”
Clover has now returned home and is receiving ongoing treatment, luckily she didn’t break any bones but has soft tissue damage.
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.