Harold Wood cat caught in cruel illegal gin trap

A pet cat narrowly escaped having its leg amputated after getting caught in a cruel trap outlawed in the 1950s.

Pet owner Miriam Lardner had to fight back tears after finding her eight-year-old tabby Lily trapped in the metal jaws of a gin trap on Tuesday night.

The 44-year-old medical secretary, of Woodlands Road in Harold Wood, heard Lily screaming in agony and ran outside to see the cat dragging her trapped back leg towards the house.

The cat’s claws had been worn away after pulling the heavy clamp all the way home.

Miriam’s husband used a screwdriver to prise open the trap’s rusty jaws and the couple quickly took terrified Lily to the Wylie Veterinary Clinic in Hall Lane, Upminster.

Miriam said: “The emergency vet had never seen a cat caught in a gin trap before. They told us if she’d been left any longer she would have lost her foot. It’s very swollen but luckily it’s not broken.

“For a little cat to drag this trap along behind it is just awful.”

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Gin traps feature spring-operated steel jaws used to catch animals such as foxes or rabbits. They were made illegal in England in 1958, with anyone caught setting a trap facing a fine of up to �2,000.

Mother-of-two Miriam said: “At the back of our garden there’s a small field so it could have come from there.

“It had been set on purpose. Imagine if it had been a small child.

“It’s darker earlier now and we want to warn dog walkers and children to look out for these traps and report any they find.”

A RSPCA spokesman said: “This poor cat sounds has gone through a horrific ordeal and was incredibly lucky to survive.

“Gin traps have been illegal since 1958 and are cruel, barbaric contraptions which pose a huge danger to both wild and domestic animals. Animals are often caught by the leg when they step into the trap and this causes great suffering - at times even breaking or losing their legs in effort to escape.”