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February 22, 2012

Reward Offered for Information in Cat Trapping Amputation Case

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for setting the possibly illegal trap that resulted in a domestic cat losing his leg in Southbridge, Mass. The HSUS adds to an existing reward of $1,000 from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

According to the MSPCA, on Feb. 14, a hiker found a domestic short-hair tabby ensnared in a leghold trap that had been intentionally set. The trap was unregistered and likely illegal. The cat was seriously injured and his leg had to be amputated.

“Massachusetts voters rightfully outlawed leghold traps in 1996,” said Alexis Fox, the Massachusetts state director for The HSUS. “Cases like this perfectly exemplify why these traps are cruel and inhumane, killing and maiming wildlife and family pets.”

The cat, named “Mr. Bates” by his rescuers, was treated at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. He is currently recovering from surgery and will remain at the MSPCA until his owner is identified or he finds an adoptive home. The MSPCA has a photo available of the cat, and anyone who thinks he may be their pet is encouraged to call 800-628-5808.


  • Leghold traps can crush or tear the skin, bones and connective tissue of the victim and render the animal defenseless against the weather and predators. Animals caught in leghold traps sometimes chew or twist off their limbs. Leghold traps are indiscriminate and can maim or kill any animal that triggers them, including companion animals, hunting dogs, and threatened or endangered species.
  • With limited exception, the use of leghold traps is prohibited in Massachusetts thanks to a 1996 voter-affirmed ballot question that outlawed them.
  • Massachusetts law requires that all traps be labeled with the name of the owner and they must be registered. The penalties in Massachusetts for setting an unregistered trap are up to $100 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail. The penalties for animal cruelty are up to a $2,500 fine and/or up to 5 years imprisonment.

The Investigators:

Anyone with information regarding this case should call the MSPCA Law Enforcement Hotline at: 800-628-5808. The HSUS Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org


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