Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19299
Classification: Unlawful Trapping/Hunting
Animal: cat
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Reward: $1,000
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Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012

County: Worcester

Disposition: Open
Case Images: 1 files available

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

A cat was ensnared and severely injured in an unregistered and possibly illegal trap, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for animal cruelty.

Surgeons at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston amputated the crushed left forelimb of the domestic short-hair tabby cat, afraid that if they didn't, the cat would die. The MSPCA said the leg hold trap was purposely set. The cat is believed to be about a year old.

A hiker stumbled upon the severely injured cat Tuesday morning in Southbridge. The hiker called the local animal control officer and the cat was taken to Angell.

"We don't know if he is owned. We hope he is. He was not microchipped or collared," said Rob Halpin, director of public relations of MSPCA. "Hopefully someone will step forward. If not, we will find him a home."

Veterinarians at Angell named the cat Mr. Bates, after the loveable and lame character on the popular PBS television show "Downton Abbey."

Mr. Bates underwent surgery on Tuesday afternoon and is recovering at the hospital. He will be sheltered at the MSPCA until his owner can be identified or until the organization can find him a permanent home.

"The cat's left forelimb was badly damaged and the amputation saved his life," said Dr. Meg Whelan, an emergency critical care veterinarian at Angell. "The operation went very well and he is now recovering. Despite having only one front leg we expect him to adjust and live a relatively normal life indoors."

Mr. Halpin said Mr. Bates is on sedatives and pain medication and is still a little spooked by the ordeal.

"Mr. Bates is doing OK now. His surgery is over, and he was very frightened to be down in the critical care unit where animals recover after surgery," Mr. Halpin said. "So he is actually recovering in an office, upstairs, at the MSPCA that is occupied by someone in our development team. He is in a corner, under a chair with a blanket wrapped around him, very quiet. We're just trying to keep him as calm as possible. He went through a lot."

The MSPCA's Law Enforcement Department has launched an animal cruelty investigation, as it appears that the trap was unregistered and was likely set illegally.

The MSPCA is opposed to the use of these traps, as they inflict devastating and extremely painful injury on animals, and can endanger the people who set them. According to the MSPCA, leg hold traps snap shut when any creature steps on them, crushing skin, bones and connective tissue and render the animal defenseless against the weather and predators.

"Tuesday was a very frigidly cold day," Mr. Halpin said. "So Mr. Bates went through quite an ordeal."

The MSPCA Law Enforcement Department urges anyone with information about who may have set the trap to call its Law Enforcement Hotline at (800) 628-5808. The MSPCA is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an animal cruelty conviction.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
Law Enforcement Hotline
(800) 628-5808


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