Simba had to have a toe amputated, but his injuries could have been worse
The RSPCA says people still using gin traps as a method of rodent control need to be aware they could face prosecution after a cat was caught in one of the deadly, and illegal, devices.
Simba suffered two broken toes when the jaws of a gin trap snapped down onto his feet. Fortunately, the feline’s pace meant he avoided more serious injuries to his legs and after undergoing surgery to amputate one of the toes he is now back home with his family in Pegswood near Morpeth in Northumberland.
It is not known where the trap was laid and for what purpose, but the stricken cat was found limping by a member of the public in Lindisfarne Close, close to his home, on Thursday, January 5. He was taken to a local vets, where he was freed from the trap and treated for his injuries.
Gin traps have been illegal in the UK since 1958, although some are still being used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes. Non-target species, like this four-year-old cat, can often become victims and suffer horrendous and life-threatening injuries.
RSPCA inspector Lucy Green said: “Simba was very lucky that he only got two of his toes caught. They were both broken, but he certainly took less of an impact because it looks like he was moving so quickly at the time.
“These traps are illegal and anyone setting one faces prosecution. Because this was not an anchored trap, we don’t know the location it was set at or by who. I’ve not seen these types of traps being used in this area before, and more often than not we are having to deal with the consequences of people using fenn traps to control rodents.
“But Gin traps cause horrendous injuries as they usually ensnare the whole leg of an animal, which results in amputation. Simba was fortunately found in the same street as his owner and received treatment as soon as possible.”
Simba’s owner, Elizabeth Jackson, said: “It was a real shock as I got a call from the vets when I was at work. I realise Simba has been really lucky and it could have been worse.
“His foot is bandaged up, but he is doing well and is back with us (see picture). We are taking him back to the vets several times a week and we are hopeful that he won’t have to lose another toe.
“We don’t know where this trap came from, although it does look like an old one.”
Gin traps are mechanical devices, which are designed to catch an animal by its leg. They have spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge which snap shut.
Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal faces an unlimited fine and/or five years in prison.
The RSPCA opposes the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and any traps which cause suffering.
The animal charity has launched its Winter Rescue campaign which aims to raise money to help the work of its frontline officers rescuing animals, like this cat.