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Cat caught in outlawed trap

JENNY LING
Last updated 05:00 21/05/2014
Cat at SPCA

PREVIOUS VICTIM: Another cat that fell prey to a gin trap in west Auckland last August.

Gin trap
DANGEROUS DEVICE: The illegal trap that captured the cat in Epsom which had to have its a leg amputated.

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The SPCA has renewed calls to ban illegal and "inhumane" gin traps after a third Auckland cat was caught and had to have its leg amputated.

An Epsom resident found their male ginger cat on a neighbour's property with the trap attached to its front leg on May 2, the SPCA says.

The cat was taken to a vet but his leg had to be amputated. It is the third cat to be caught in toothed traps in the last 10 months.

The other two were in West Auckland and also had legs amputated.

"The SPCA is outraged that this poor family cat suffered needlessly because of the malicious act of a person who did not think about the welfare of the many companion animals in this highly populated area," SPCA chief executive Christine Kalin says.

"They're dangerous devices. They are inhumane and inflict significant pain and suffering on animals caught in them.

"These devices are also capable of inflicting serious harm and injury to people, especially children."

The SPCA is currently investigating the incident.

Illegal placement of leg-hold traps is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act and is punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a body corporate.

They are used to trap pests such as possums, ferrets, stoats and feral cats but toothed traps (gin traps) are illegal.

Non-toothed leg-hold traps are permitted with restrictions; they cannot be set within 150 metres of a dwelling or in any area where there is a risk of a pet being caught in them.

The SPCA also wants them banned and has submitted its case to the latest review of the Animal Welfare Act.

Kalin understands it will go through its first reading in Parliament in June.

"Our position is they're still an inhumane device and we would not recommend that people use them," she says.

Kalin urges anyone with the traps to dispose of them or give them to the SPCA.

An Auckland Council spokesperson says the council loans live catch traps to community groups in areas of high environmental value, such as the Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges regional parks, to protect native species.

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