4 September 2023

A Herne Hill man has been fined $4000 for setting steel jawed traps on his property, capturing a rabbit and a fox. He has also been ordered to hand the traps over to RSPCA WA.

Steel jawed traps are prescribed as an inhumane device under Western Australian law and their use is strictly regulated.

In sentencing today, Magistrate Millington said the traps would cause ‘significant pain and suffering to any animal caught.’

RSPCA WA received a report in April of a fox caught in one of the traps, still alive, bleeding and visibly distressed. The caller said a second trap contained a rabbit that had been decapitated.

An RSPCA WA inspector attended the 88-year-old’s property where she found the offender with a deceased rabbit that was decapitated, with a bone protruding from its hind leg, and a deceased fox that had a bone protruding from its front leg.

Midland Magistrates Court heard today that the man admitted to setting the sets to capture the fox and the rabbit. He also said the fox was alive in the trap when he saw it that morning.

Inspector Manager Kylie Green said the fox and the rabbit would have died painful and, in the case of the fox, prolonged deaths.

‘These traps are designed to cause maximum damage, resulting in horrendous pain and significant injuries,’ she said.

‘As in this case, we see them used to target so-called nuisance animals but that’s not ok.

‘Not only is it illegal to use steel-jawed traps in this way, but they also present a significant danger to pets, wildlife and children.’

It is not illegal to own a steel-jaw trap and they are sometimes used for decorative purposes, but RSPCA WA wants them removed from the community completely.

‘If you have a steel-jawed trap in your possession, we encourage you to drop it off at our shelter in Malaga during opening hours and it will be destroyed,’ she said.

The accused was convicted under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. He was found to have been cruel to the fox and the rabbit in that he used a prescribed inhumane device on them. The maximum penalty for a charge of animal cruelty is a $50,000 fine and five years in prison.

The RSPCA relies on the community to report incidents of suspected cruelty and neglect. Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or at rspcawa.org.au