Nfld. & Labrador

Hunting trap that snared cat 'totally irresponsible,' says St. John's man who helped save animal

A cat stuck in a leg trap left photographer Greg Locke in disbelief.

Greg Locke issues a warning to pet owners after finding a cat stuck in a leg trap in his driveway

Greg Locke says he was in disbelief after finding a neighbourhood cat under his car with a trap caught on its leg. (Mike Simms/CBC)

A cat stuck in a leg trap left photographer Greg Locke in disbelief this week. 

Locke found a howling kitty last week not in a wooded area, where a forgetful hunter left behind the errant small-game trap, but under his vehicle in a residential neighbourhood in the Torbay Road area of St. John's.

"It's unfortunate. [I'm] very angry. There's no reason to put this out," Locke told CBC News on Wednesday of the trap, which had clamped onto the cat's paw. 

"This is designed for things like muskrat, or fox, or otter — small game for fur. I don't even think these are legal anymore. I think these have been outlawed."

It was Locke's neighbour who alerted him to the cat stuck underneath his car. He said the woman had been looking for her family pet, who had found its way into Locke's driveway. 

A quick check with a flashlight spooked the trapped feline, sending it running for another hiding place with the trap of chains, metal and the anchor in tow. 

Locke pried this trap from a cat hiding underneath his vehicle. (Mike Simms/CBC)

"I managed to get the lock off of it and squeezed it enough to get the paw out, and off she went to the vet," Locke said. 

"The cat was very lucky. It didn't catch it up high on the paw; it was right down on the pads.… [It had] a pretty deep cut, but didn't lose any toes or anything."

The cat that Locke helped free from its shackles survived, but Locke wants to know where the trap came from.

His street is in a distinctly suburban area of the city close to the Virginia River trail, surrounded by homes and a park with small children and wandering neighbourhood pets.

WATCH | Greg Locke tells CBC's Cec Haire about a grim discovery outside his home: 

Cat rescued from animal trap found in St. John's neighbourhood

2 years ago
Duration 1:49
Cec Haire speaks with Greg Locke, who found a cat stuck in an animal trap in an east end neighbourhood

"It didn't drag it far. That's a couple of pounds of metal," he said. 

"If that was over in the park, kids rooting around in the bushes or something could have easily stuck their hand or stepped in it. That's the thing: there's absolutely no reason to do this at all." 

Locke says it's irresponsible for anyone to set hunting traps within the city. (Mike Simms/CBC)

Locke's worry isn't limited to his neighbourhood. He listed several other similar incidents he has heard about in recent years, including animals stuck in similar traps in the White Hills area of the city, and dogs caught in snares in the Mount Scio area. 

He shared his warning on Facebook with other residents in his area.

After Locke posted his story, a friend suggested somebody had set the trap on their own property to deal with a rodent problem. But Locke says there are more efficient, cheaper and easier ways to catch rats.

"It's pretty irresponsible for anyone to use this in the city. If you're in a rural area or you're out in the woods and you're trapping, fine. Go for it. Whatever.… But to set any type of animal trap in the city, it's totally irresponsible. I would presume it's illegal."

According to the City of St. John's park bylaw, hunting in city parks and on any land owned, leased or controlled by the city designated or used as a park, playground, sport field, trail or public open space is prohibited.

The same applies to setting traps or using other means for "taking any bird or animal or destroying or injuring same."

A spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture confirmed that licensed trapping is legal throughout the province, except in prohibited areas. It's unclear whether the trap used was legal.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cecil Haire