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Illegal steel-jaw traps claim another victim in Aussie suburbs

The person responsible could cop a maximum penalty of $2,500.

A young cat faced "horrific" injuries after being lured into an illegal steel-jaw trap — a device the RSPCA is calling for to be banned completely.

The one-year-old, named Remy by the animal organisation, had to have one of his front legs amputated last Tuesday after roaming a suburban area in Adelaide and falling victim to a "cruel" trap behind a property.

"Judging by the state of the wound, he suffered horrifically before being found, and unfortunately his leg was too badly damaged to save,” RSPCA South Australia Chief Veterinarian Gayle Kothari said in a statement.

A photo of a one-year-old cat named Remy in a cage after having one if his front legs caught in a steel-jaw trap behind a property on The Oaks Parade in Aberfoyle Park, Adelaide. Another photo of him after his surgery to have his leg amputated.
A one-year-old cat had one of his front legs amputated after falling victim to a steel-jaw trap behind a property in suburban Adelaide. Source: RSPCA SA

After getting a call, a rescue officer from the organisation rushed to the scene at The Oaks Parade, Aberfoyle Park and found Remy in severe pain, with the trap still attached to his leg. He was taken to a RSPCA vet clinic at Lonsdale where he was given pain relief, sedated so the trap could be removed and later had his leg amputated.

It is believed the cat was someone's pet due to his "friendly temperament", however wasn't desexed, didn't have a microchip and was "underweight and a bit dehydrated".

"Looks like he has been living rough for some time," Dr Kothari said. Once Remy has fully recovered, he will be rehomed.

What is the penalty for setting steel-jaw traps?

Cats are most commonly baited by illegal steel-jaw traps, with RSPCA SA calling for owners to make sure their pet cats are protected in the confines of their home.

While owning a steel-jaw trap for decorative purposes is allowed, actually setting one is illegal in every Australian state and can cost the offender a maximum penalty of $2,500.

Under SA’s Animal Welfare Act, the person could also face charges for intentionally causing harm if an animal is caught in the trap, with a maximum penalty of $20,000 or imprisonment for 2 years.

RSPCA wants steel-jaw traps banned

Given the tragic outcomes of steel-jaw traps, the organisation is calling for the "awful devices" to be banned, whether they are being used or not.

A photo of an echidna which had one if its front legs caught in a steel-jaw trap in October, 2022 in SA.
An echidna had one if its front legs caught in a steel-jaw trap in October, 2022. Source: RSPCA SA

“The cruelty and suffering is horrendous, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to own one of these things let alone use it," SA Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis said in a previous statement about an echidna being trapped by one.

“Most of them are probably rusting away in sheds, but some of them are being used and there’s no doubt some trapped animals aren’t being found, meaning they are dying in extreme pain.

“Animals are frequently found in such poor condition that euthanasia is the only humane option, or they have to have the trapped limb amputated."

People can drop off their steel-jaw traps at any three of the RSPCA SA shelters or the organisation’s Stepney head office, where they'll be turned into scrap metal, with all funds raised going towards the care of animals at the shelters.

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