A cat was found deceased on a Sparwood property after becoming trapped in an illegally modified Victor 3 leghold trap, Wednesday.
According to the BC Conservation Officer (CO) Service, the cat was wandering some distance from its home when its paw became trapped. They believe it dragged the trap with it while trying to return home, but perished and was found by a Sparwood resident. It was found not far from its home, in the Michel Creek Road area.
The owner of the cat has been found and notified.
The resident who found the deceased animal was concerned that this had happened around an area frequented by small children. They also scoured the area but found no other traps.
Conservation Officer Patricia Burley says that not only is it illegal to modify traps, it’s also illegal to set traps anywhere in the District of Sparwood. She says there are also no registered trappers in Sparwood.
“This was someone illegally trapping with an illegal trap,” she said.
“It’s also a safety concern,” she added. “There are kids in the area, running around barefoot in grass, there’s private property all around…
“We aren’t sure where it came from so we’re asking for the public’s assistance if they have any information for us.”
The person found responsible for this could face a number of charges.
Section 41 of the Wildlife Act states that anyone found unlawfully trapping could face a fine of $115. Also, under section 11(8) of the Wildlife Act, anyone found trapping without a license could face a fine of $230.
Additionally, since the animal suffered, this could also serve as a file for the SPCA. Section 445 of the Criminal Code forbids the inhumane treatment of animals.
Burley said she hoped this didn’t result in any backlash on trappers. She said for the most part, licensed trappers use humane traps, they check their traps, they follow the regulations and policies and only trap in areas in which they are allowed to do so.
“Whoever did this, they’re not a trapper. They’re just someone breaking the law and doing something very inhumane,” said Burley.
Last month, a fox was found injured in a leghold trap in Elkford. The CO Service says this investigation is ongoing.
The CO Service is asking that anyone with information pertaining to either incidents please call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277