The Scottish SPCA has appealed for information from the public after receiving multiple reports of animals being killed in illegal snares and traps in recent weeks.
This article contains distressing images of the animals caught in illegal traps.
The charity’s special investigations unit is investigating the deaths of two badgers, found dead in North Lanarkshire since July 5, after being caught in snares.
It said the snares used to trap the badgers were illegally set on a fence line, which can mean animals are suspended off the ground when caught, and were made of nylon - a banned material for such traps.
The snares also did not have a “stop”, which prevents the device from tightening beyond a set point.
Investigators are also hunting the killers of a hare, whose mutilated body was found in a spring trap in the Pentland Hills on June 18.
The Scottish SPCA said the trap was an “outdated” and now illegal model for use on non-target animals since April of this year.
It insisted that trap operators are responsible for knowing which traps are no longer approved.
From 2018 to 2019, the charity dealt with almost 60 incidents involving animals caught in snares and traps. The majority of these animals were dead on arrival.
The Scottish SPCA supports an outright ban on all snares due to the level of suffering they cause a trapped animal.
A special investigations inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, said: “Snare and trap operators must check on the device every 24-hours and this was not the case in these incidents.
“These animals were caused unimaginable physical and mental anguish, being caught in these traps. The creatures will have experienced slow and agonising deaths.
“The level of suffering they would have felt is unimaginable.
“The badger in Airdrie had been dead for two or three months and in Motherwell, the animal had been deceased for over 24 hours.
“The badgers that were found in Airdrie and Motherwell must have passed under the fence and become caught in the snare. One under its front legs and the other around its neck. Both animals must have panicked and this caused the snare to constrict them further and further.
“The hare was found in the Pentland Hills near Balerno trapped by its front leg. By the time we found it, the leg had almost been severed due to the amount of struggle and fight put up by the animal.
“Snares and traps are indiscriminate”
“These areas are popular with dog walkers so we would ask that anyone with pets in the areas is vigilant.
“Snares and traps are indiscriminate and domestic animals such as dogs and cats can also be caught in them.
“It is illegal for anyone to tamper with a legally set snare or trap so we would ask the public not to attempt this. If someone suspects a device is set illegally then they should contact us immediately.
“We’ve been working closely with our partners at Police Scotland on these wildlife crimes and both agencies are keen to find those responsible.
“We’d also like to thank the owners of the land in Airdrie, Premier Woodlands, who have been fully cooperative and are keen to find those responsible.
“If anyone has any information on whoever may have set these snares or traps or if anyone finds what they believe to be an illegal item, we would urge them to phone our animal helpline immediately on 03000 999 999. All calls can be treated confidentially.”
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