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Man who caught pet cat in leg hold trap convicted

Friday, 20 May, 2016

13227188 10154284523658606 1646451356309765888 nA Palmerston North man has been sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court for capturing a pet cat in a serrated leg hold trap on his property.

Paul Parsons was convicted on a charge of using a prohibited trap for the purpose of capturing an animal. He was fined $500 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs and a $250 contribution to legal costs.

“The Animal Welfare (Leg Hold traps) Order 2007 has prohibited the use of size 1½ long-spring, leg hold traps since 1 January 2009,” says Ric Odom, CEO of SPCA New Zealand.

“The Animal Welfare 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 companion animal.

“The actions of the defendant are clearly completely unacceptable and irresponsible. What if a small child had caught their hand or foot in the trap? Leg hold traps have absolutely no place in urban areas. No one should be setting these cruel traps anywhere near houses or where domestic pets may be caught in them.”

The case began on 11 October 2015 when an adult, black, domestic, short-haired cat was found by its owner caught in a serrated edge, size 1½, long-spring, leg hold trap on the defendant’s property in Palmerston North. The trap was secured to the base of a tree and the cat’s right foreleg was caught in it.

The owner struggled to free the cat from the trap. The defendant refused to assist initially, but after a heated altercation, and input from his wife, he reluctantly agreed.

A veterinary examination revealed that the cat had sustained two fractures in its paw, and the paw was very swollen and had puncture wounds on both sides. The Veterinarian commented that there would have been significant pain and fear induced by the trapping.

The trap was seized during the execution of a search warrant at the defendant’s home on 13 October 2016. When interviewed the defendant admitted that he had set the trap for the purpose of capturing the cat to prevent it from hunting birds on his property.

“The SPCA wants this conviction to send a clear message to anyone considering setting leg hold traps – and the message is: don’t do it. It is illegal to set leg hold traps near dwellings and size 1½ long-spring leg hold traps are themselves illegal,” says Mr Odom.