10 March 2023

RSPCA WA has issued a warning about the use of ‘barbaric’ steel-jaw traps, after two cats were found caught and injured in Perth this week.

On Tuesday in Nedlands, a cat returned home with a trap around its leg. And yesterday in Greenmount, another cat was found trapped in a suburban backyard.

Both pets received vet treatment and are now on the mend, but the RSPCA said many animals were not so lucky.

‘We receive five to ten callouts a year about these barbaric devices,’ RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said.

‘We want to remind the community in the strongest terms possible that steel-jaw traps are illegal to set in WA, as they cause terrible injuries and immense suffering to pets and wildlife.

‘Trapped animals are frequently found in such terrible condition that they cannot be saved. And there is no doubt many more aren’t being found, meaning they are dying in extreme pain.

‘Cats are one animal we commonly see caught in steel-jaw traps, so it’s another reason for owners to keep their cats contained indoors or in a secure outdoor enclosure.’

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

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

‘We will destroy it for you, no questions asked.’

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2002, steel-jaw traps are classified as a ‘prescribed inhumane device’ and are illegal to use on an animal.

Those caught face fines up to $50,000 fine and five years in prison, with one offender sentenced as recently as last year.

If you find a trapped animal, please contact RSPCA WA’s 24/7 Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358).