A neutered male tabby cat had its front left paw amputated after being caught in an illegal gin trap. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Pet cat loses leg in illegal trap

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A disgusting act of animal cruelty has left someone’s pet cat with only three legs, as it crawled for shelter with an illegal gin trap clamped through its front left paw.

The neutered male tabby cat was discovered at the edge of the Hope School field last month and Nelson SPCA animal welfare officer Andy Rolfe admits there was a chance the animal could have been put down, before the final decision was made to amputate the leg instead. “It’s dragged itself towards the building because animals tend to go for cover when they’re injured,” says Andy. “It was obviously really bad in its leg. We had two choices really; either the cat was going to be put to sleep or there was going to be an amputation, and we’ve taken a decision as a society to help the animal.”

Andy says the gin traps are illegal and shouldn’t be used at all, and the location of the trap, which was near a school, was concerning to the SPCA. “It’s twofold really. The fact that people are still using illegal traps because potentially they can cause all sorts of damage to animals and there are plenty of people who walk dogs along that area. There’s always a chance a child could come across it and get damaged. It is my belief that the person who has set this type of trap has acted with complete disregard for safety of animals and has certainly acted illegally by setting the trap.”

The owner of the cat and the owner of the trap are yet to be identified and Andy was hoping to hear from both parties, although that task can be difficult. “We’re doing everything we can to find the owner. We’ve probably drawn a blank on [the owner of the trap] and we’re interested to hear if any others have been trapped in this vicinity.”

The cat is currently housed at Halifax Veterinary Centre and will be taken to the SPCA this week while the search for the owner continues. It has to learn to walk again and has broken teeth from trying to chew its way out of the trap.