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SPCA Auckland calls for ban on ‘leg-hold traps’ for cats

Two cats caught in gin traps within a month

SPCA Auckland calls for regional ban on so-called ‘leg-hold traps’

SPCA Auckland has rescued another cat with its leg almost severed by a gin trap – the second such case in a month – and now the organisation is calling for a ban on traps.

Both trappings occurred in West Auckland – the first in Silverstone Place, Henderson, and the latest one in Vanhest Way, Ranui. The first cat, named ‘Thumper’, was reunited with its owner – but its leg had to be amputated. The Ranui cat’s owner has yet to be found and it is too early to say to what extent the cat will be able to recover from its injuries.

“We responded yesterday to a call from an understandably distressed member of the public who discovered the cat hiding under a car with its left hind leg caught in a so-called ‘leg-hold trap’,” says Christine Kalin, CEO of SPCA Auckland.

An SPCA Auckland Field Officer caught the cat and rushed it to a local vet for emergency pain relief, and then transferred it to the SPCA Auckland Animal Hospital for treatment. The cat is receiving ongoing treatment while SPCA Auckland attempts to trace its owner.

“This is a cowardly and cruel act that has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on an innocent pet cat. Someone out there has deliberately set this trap where domestic cats and possibly children could get caught in it. We must find who did this and prosecute them,” says Ms Kalin.

“An SPCA Inspector is currently interviewing neighbours and conducting an investigation, including a forensic examination of the trap. If anyone has any information that might help us find the cat’s owner and/or the person who set the trap, please call us on 09 256 7300.

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“If there is a pattern emerging, we want to nip it in the bud. So SPCA Auckland is calling for an outright ban on the use of leg-hold traps in the Auckland region. There is no place for them in urban areas where not only domestic pets but also children could get caught in them.

“Make no mistake: these are inhumane traps that inflict terrible injuries and pain. We want to see an end to them.”

The Animal Welfare (Leg-hold Traps) Order 2007 places restrictions on the sale and use of leg-hold traps to reduce the risks to animal welfare. The Order states that no leg-hold traps can be used within 150 metres of a dwelling without the express permission of the occupier or in any area where there is a probable risk of catching a pet.

“Clearly there are pets living in Vanhest Way, Ranui, so setting leg-hold traps in this area is an illegal act and therefore punishable by law,” says Ms Kalin.

“The consequences for the culprit will be severe – illegal placement of leg-hold traps is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act and is punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a body corporate.”


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