Marlborough Animal Control and the SPCA have issued a stern warning to possum trappers not to set their traps in or near urban areas or where pets can get caught.
This comes after a possum caught in a leg-hold trap was found stuck up a tree in Solway Drive, near Blenheim's Harling Park, on Monday.
It was still alive but had to be euthanised by Animal Control staff.
Animal Control team leader Jason McMillan said the possum was first spotted on Friday. It spent the weekend dragging the trap around until it was caught by a Marlborough District Council reserves ranger on Monday morning.
"The trap itself is legal, but it must almost certainly have been placed close to the houses, which is illegal," Mr McMillan said.
"By law, traps have to be checked every 24 hours.
"They should also be properly secured in place, but this one obviously wasn't."
While the trap was small and did not have the serrated edges of illegal gin traps it would still have caused the possum pain.
Ample information on the legal use of traps is available, both from retailers of the traps and the internet, Mr McMillan said.
"There really is no excuse for breaking the law."
Marlborough SPCA animal welfare inspector Carol Schofield said that under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 no trap should be placed within 150 metres of a dwelling or where pets could be trapped.
Penalties ranged from a $1200 fine for not checking traps within 24 hours to a maximum of $50,000 or 12 months in prison for setting traps to close to dwellings.
- The Marlborough Express