By Alesha Capone
RSPCA Victoria is reminding the community that steel jaw animal traps, in which pet cats often become caught, are illegal.
Using the leg-hold traps is against the law, no matter what types of animals people are trying to capture.
Illegal animal traps are specifically designed to cause severe damage, with animals who get caught in them commonly experiencing ligament injuries, nerve damage and bone fractures.
RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate team leader Belinda Dent said the traps were “inhumane”.
“Too many times we have seen beloved family pets suffer excruciating pain and distress, and it is not uncommon for these injuries to necessitate amputation of an entire limb,” Ms Dent said.
“These serrated steel traps are illegal to use, set and sell, unless they are a permitted trap as prescribed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.”
Anyone found guilty of using, setting or selling the traps can face a maximum penalty of $43,617.60 or up to two years’ imprisonment.
During the past 12 months, the RSPCA has recorded 12 instances of illegal animal traps being found across the north and west.
Three of the traps were located in the Whittlesea municipality and two each in the Wyndham, Melton and Hobsons Bay municipalities.
One trap was found in Brimbank, one in Banyule and one in Darebin.
During August last year, a domestic shorthair cat named Kale was found caught in an illegal trap near the intersection of Melton Avenue and Clayton Street, Sunshine North.
The trap was set with a meat bone attached to it with wire.
After being found by his owner, Kale required emergency veterinary treatment for his leg injuries.
An RSPCA Victoria statement said that Kale “suffered excruciating pain and suffering prior to being located”.
RSPCA Victoria inspectors are still investigating the matter of whoever set up the trap.
As well, RSPCA Victoria is urging anyone with steel jaw traps to dismantle them as much as possible to render them inoperable, and then make arrangements to dispose of them.
Anyone who has concerns about the welfare of an animal or has information relating to illegal traps can make a report to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate.
Details: rspcavic.org/report or call 9224 2222.