15 June 2020

A man from Perth’s southern suburbs pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty and was sentenced in Perth Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 12 June 2020.

The charges under section 19(2)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 relate to his use of a prescribed inhumane device on two magpies.

He was fined $2,000 per charge (total of $4,000), and was ordered to pay legal costs of $221.30. The traps were forfeited to The Crown.

steel jawed trapsOn 14 February 2020, a member of the community noticed two magpies caught in two metal-jawed leghold traps (pictured) in the garden of the offender. When the offender was told of the magpies, he released the traps and one magpie flew off. The second magpie flew to the other side of the road before it landed heavily, and after a few minutes it also flew away. While there was blood on both traps, it is not known if the magpies sustained serious injuries.

In Western Australia, jawed traps are prescribed inhumane devices under Regulation 3 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations 2003. The use of these traps is heavily regulated under Regulation 8 of the regulations. They can only be used by authorised people under strict controls for specific purposes.

The use of a prescribed inhumane device on an animal is an offence under Section 19(2)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

RSPCA WA would like to acknowledge the cooperation of the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, who assisted with this investigation.

Comments attributed to RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift:

“It is a serious criminal offence to use these inhumane devices to target nuisance animals.

“We often see cases of animals who have been caught in these traps, but it’s very difficult to establish who is responsible. In many cases, animals who get caught in steel-jaw traps suffer horrendous pain and significant injuries, both from the initial violent snapping of the trap, and with larger animals, when they try to flee in distress while still caught in the trap.

“Animals who are caught in traps can die a slow, painful death. Those who are rescued can suffer severe injuries and will often need to have their limbs amputated due to the serious damage caused.

“These kinds of traps are commonly used by people targeting nuisance animals on their property. It is not only illegal to use metal-jawed traps in this way, but they can present a significant danger to any animal and children.

“There are many humane, legal options for managing nuisance animals that should be explored.

“While it is not illegal to own these kinds of traps, if you have them lying around and want to dispose of them, you can bring them to the RSPCA Animal Care Centre in Malaga and we will destroy them for you.”