Disturbing find in Castlerock

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A member of the public made this shocking discovery in Castlerock last week.

Unfortunately the cat had to be euthanized as it was so distressed following its horrendous ordeal.

In light of the discovery, police in the Coleraine area have appealed to anyone who uses animal snares to ensure that they comply with the law.

A staff member of Castlerock Cattery attempted to rescue the animal, which was found by a walker in the Circular Road area of the seaside town last week.

Following a veterinary examination, sadly the animal had to be put down.

“The cat was really distressed,” said the Cattery staff member, who did not wish to be named. “It is very upsetting to see an animal in this state.

“We get regular calls from cat owners in the Coleraine area about missing cats, I just hope that there is no connection to this incident,” said the worried cat lover.

Police in Coleraine said: “Snares can be used in Northern Ireland to control foxes - to capture the animals for humane dispatch, not as a way to kill them.”

Police say that they will continue to give attention to areas where they believe snares are being used illegally. The message from police is to comply with the requirements and stay legal.

The PSNI’s Wildlife Liaison officer Emma Meredith added:

“The law as it stands in Northern Ireland has four main requirements.

“Firstly, the use of a self-locking snare is prohibited and it is also an offence to sell or offer for sale a self-locking snare, or to be in possession of a self-locking snare without a reasonable excuse.

“Secondly, it is a requirement that snares are checked at least once a day, and any animals caught by the snare must be released or removed. Failure to remove an animal, whether alive or dead, during such an inspection also is an offence.

“Thirdly, it is an offence to set in position or otherwise use any snare which is, due to its design or the manner in which it is used, calculated to cause unnecessary suffering.

“Finally, no-one should be in possession of a snare or set a snare on any land where the permission of the owner or occupier of that land has not been obtained, unless there is a reasonable excuse. This amendment in 2011 means that an owner or occupier of land can determine his or her own policy in relation to snares”.

The Coleraine Cats Protection League condemned the incident, in a statement a spokesperson said: “The Coleraine Cats Protection branch is appalled to hear of this incident and the unnecessary suffering that this poor cat endured. Cats Protection is strongly opposed to the use of any object, or the adoption of processes, that inflict pain and suffering on cats.

“The use of snares is indiscriminate. More than 40 percent of all animals caught are not the intended target species, the majority of which are cats. Cats Protection is against the use of snares and is committed to their use being made illegal in the UK.”