A CAT was lucky not to lose its leg after becoming caught in a “barbaric” illegal trap in Christchurch.

Two-year-old Sid was rescued by the RSPCA after a member of the public discovered the stricken feline in Avon Road East.

Sid’s leg was caught in a gin trap, which have been outlawed for almost 60 years. The mechanical traps are designed to catch an animal by their leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge.

Sid was found in a “very bad way” according to his owner, Louise Phillips. She only found out what happened to him after being contacted by the RSPCA, who tracked Louise down through Sid’s microchip.

“Not only had he been dragging the trap, he was also very dehydrated and had struggled to try and make it back home with the trap attached,” she said.

“These traps are barbaric. It’s horrendous to see the one that caught Sid and we hope that anyone who knows anything about where this trap has come from will get in touch.

“Thankfully he is getting better and hopefully he’ll be coming home soon. The vet has been able to save his leg as there doesn’t seem to have been any nerve damage.”

Louise is now supporting the RSPCA’s appeal for information about the incident.

Inspector Tina Ward, who is investigating, is urging local people to be vigilant and “keep an eye out for these traps”.

“While whoever set this trap probably didn’t expect to capture a cat, they still broke the law - it is illegal to set a gin trap whether or not it catches anything. Gin traps have to be purposefully set in order to catch an animal so this can’t have been an accident.

“Not only is it illegal to set a gin trap, it is also illegal to cause an animal to suffer as a result, and domestic animals often fall foul of these traps.”

The charity is appealing to anyone with information about the trap, where it was set, or how it came to injure Sid to get in contact by calling the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

The use of gin traps has been outlawed in the UK since 1958, but there are still plenty out there according to the RSPCA. Some people may be tempted to try and catch animals such as rabbits and foxes using the illegal traps.

The charity wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution by setting a gin trap. Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal faces an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison.