KITTY CRUELTY: Two guilty after cat caught in 'rat' trap
THE owners of a Pialba property where a kitten was caught in two rabbit traps have been ordered to pay a $1000 fine, but will be allowed to own animals in the future.
Charles Barton and Judit Bako both pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court over the entrapment of a kitten in July last year.
Solicitor Fiona Terrell, appearing on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the cat had been found caught between two metal traps, screaming out from the Bako's backyard.
"The informant saw the cat with its hind legs and front legs caught in two traps," Ms Terrell said.
"The informant released the cat from the traps and wrapped it in a towel."
Ms Terrell said the informant took the kitten to a Hervey Bay vet, where its horrific injuries were examined.
"The bone was visible through the skin; the right hind leg had a compound fracture and the leg was hanging by skin," Ms Terrell said.
"The front foot was cool and stiff to the touch."
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The vet concluded both injured legs would need to be amputated.
When Baby Ace's owner, Suzanne Ryan, was contacted and informed of her kitten's situation, the decision was made to euthanise the animal.
At the time of the incident, Suzanne spoke to the Chronicle and said it was very hard to see her kitten in that condition.
"She had to be euthanaised because the pain was too much, but she knew I was there," Suzanne said.
"I talked to her and I held her; I just held her while she went to sleep.
"I've never seen an animal damaged like that."
Suzanne is on a disability pension, and has not yet been able to pay the $300 vet bill.
Ms Terrell said upon inspection of the Bako property, three metal traps were found inside a steel metal cage.
"Two of the traps had blood and hair on them," she said.
"They were approximately 10 metres away from the house."
Defence lawyer David Hinton said the traps had been set by a friend of the family, to help the Bako's fight an on-going rat problem.
"(The friend) told them he would lay some traps," Mr Hinton said.
"They were steel-doored rabbit traps, not the sort of traps you would expect to be using for rats."
Mr Hinton said the family played no part in the cat being on their property.
Magistrate Graeme Tatnell said he fully accepted there was no intention from the Bakos to harm anyone other than the rats.
"But the traps were set, and it is very unfortunate that a cat was caught and received such serious injuries," Mr Tatnell said.
"It is unfortunate that you are a victim of circumstances."
Mr Tatnell ordered the couple pay a $1000 fine with half going to the RSPCA.
No conviction was recorded.
RSPCA Senior Inspector Georgia Sakrzewski told the Chronicle it was ultimately the Bakos' ignorance that lead to the kitten's demise.
"They were a busy family who had not given thought to the destruction and harm that was sitting in the backyard," Snr Insp Sakrzewski said.
"I would say (the traps) are an inappropriate method to catch rats and I would say it's certainly dangerous to set the traps and leave them without monitoring them for an extended period of
She said in Queensland, the traps only became illegal when they caused an animal pain for an extended period of time - as in this case.
"They do a lot of damage and don't necessarily kill the animal quickly," Ms Sakrzewski said.
"It would be good to see the government make the owning and possession of these traps illegal, so that these situations don't happen."