Woman convinced cat was caught in illegal trap near Fen railway line receives national backing
PUBLISHED: 12:45 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:45 29 July 2020
A Fenland woman is being supported by a national campaign group after she believes her family’s pet cat was caught in an illegal gin trap.
Annmarie Watson says her cat, Tallulah, just 11 months old, returned to their Thornton Road home in March after being missing for two days with injuries she is convinced were caused by a trap.
“I took her to two vets, and they said it was a trap. She was not run over; there are no animal bites on her whatsoever,” Annmarie said.
“It has cost me £200 that I haven’t got. I think it was £94 just to see a vet. On Friday, July 24, when we took her to our vets, that cost us another £54.”
Simon Wild, from the National Anti-Snaring Campaign, was contacted by Annmarie as well as the RSPCA to look into the incident.
He believes the gin trap, used to catch medium-sized mammals such as cats before being banned from use in the 1950s, may have been set unlawfully.
“I think something unlawful has gone on here as they have not been checking the trap,” he said.
“If you don’t check the trap every 24 hours and it wounds an animal, this could be an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
“If they checked this trap every 24 hours, they would not have had this cat missing for two days.
“I hope a police investigation will uncover whether the trap was lawful and inquire if it was set lawfully, why it was not being checked on a regular basis and take it from there.”
When Tallulah went missing at around 2am on Tuesday, July 21, she was thought to have headed towards the railway line on Station Road.
That morning, Annmarie launched an appeal on social media asking if residents could help find Tallulah.
“I thought she was dead because it was not like her to not come home. Neither my daughter or I could settle. We kept walking around March, round the railway line, the graveyard,” Annmarie said.
“She is a very pretty little cat and I thought maybe someone took her. We knew if she could get in, she would and there was a reason why she could not get home.”
On Thursday, July 23, Annmarie asked staff at the Network Rail depot on Station Road for help, and on the same day, Tallulah was back home.
“I went to the railway line with my dog Harvey about 7.30am to see if he could smell her,” she said.
“We went and buzzed on the gate at the depot and I explained my cat was poorly and couldn’t get out. Suddenly, three men rushed out and ran up the line.”
Tallulah returned home the same day with an injured tail and now suffers with spasms, but although she is suffering with no internal injuries, she is taking painkillers to ease the pain.
Annmarie returned to the depot on Friday, July 24 to ask whether there were any traps located on or near to the railway line.
But despite staff rejecting claims they have traps in place, Annmarie is convinced this is not the case.
“I know some of them are against the law and I cannot say this one was against the law, but I do believe she was caught in that trap for a couple of days.
“I don’t know whether they’ve put cheap rat traps there because that was a commercial rat trap and they’re meant to be put into another box so other animals do not get stuck.”
The Network Rail depot strongly denied that they have any form of traps on or around the railway crossing.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire police said they have not received any reports about the incident, and ask residents to contact them on 101 if they see anything suspicious.
The incident left her daughter Charlotte mortified, and Annmarie is still enduring sleepless nights and severe flashbacks, but she thinks with more thought, incidents like these would not happen.
“If we found her dead in that time, I think we would have found it easier but it’s the not knowing that hurts,” she said.
“If people have got traps, please check them daily. It’s the damage they do, but the financial cost as well.”
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