28 July 2022

A 78-year-old man, who set a steel-jaw trap which caught and badly injured a pet cat, has been sentenced for animal cruelty.

The man from Witchcliffe, just south of Margaret River, pleaded guilty to using a prescribed inhumane device to catch an animal. He was fined $6000.

The offender was also ordered to pay the cat’s owner $3722.49 in compensation, and $163.30 in costs.

The Bunbury Magistrates Court heard the offence occurred in August last year on the man’s property. A neighbour, who was caring for a six-year-old female tabby named Nige, made the grim discovery after hearing the cat’s cries of distress. She found her trapped, badly injured and bleeding.

Nige was taken to a local vet, where she was found to have suffered a deep wound and bone fracture. Unfortunately, despite several weeks of treatment, Nige’s leg was damaged beyond repair and had to be amputated.

Inhumane steel-jawed trap  Nige the cat had her leg amputated after being caught in an inhumane steel-jawed trap

The offender told the RSPCA he had set the trap to catch rabbits and acknowledged that any animal caught would ‘suffer to some degree’.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager, Kylie Green, said steel-jaw traps were illegal to set in Western Australia.

‘These devices cause horrific injuries and suffering,’ she said.

‘Sadly, our inspectors have been called out to some really confronting situations involving these traps, such as cats who have bled to death, or further injured themselves trying frantically to escape.

‘Nobody wants to see their pet in pain, so I can only imagine how traumatic it was for Nige’s carer to find her this way.

‘If you see or hear about anyone setting these archaic traps, please make a report to RSPCA WA.’

Today’s charges were brought under sections 19(1) and 19(2)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

The offender was also directed to hand a second steel-jaw trap he owns over to the RSPCA.

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 online here.