A trap set up to catch possums instead killed a pet cat called Eli, and landed a Masterton man in court.
The four-year-old female tabby and tortoiseshell feline was found dead, hanging from a fence with a dislocated left front forelimb.
A veterinarian concluded in a report that Eli would have “suffered severe pain and distress” before dying.
Ross Allen Dorrian appeared in the Masterton District Court yesterday facing two charges relating to the incident.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to illtreating an animal, and using a restricted trap unlawfully.
On March 22, Dorrian secured a size one restricted leg hold trap to a fence post on the boundary of his Masterton property, in an attempt to catch possums.
According to an SPCA summary of facts, the trap was set within 150 metres of about 143 addresses.
It said the defendant had not sought permission to use the trap from any of the neighbours.
The following day, at 8.30pm, Eli was discovered on the other side of the fence by a neighbour.
The cat was dead, and had been hanging by her left forelimb which was caught in the trap.
There were “scratch and scuff” marks evident on the fence “where she would have desperately tried to pull herself up”, the summary read.
It said Dorrian had been unaware the cat had been caught as that day he had failed to check the trap.
Following a veterinary examination it was revealed Eli’s forelimb had been dislocated, and compression from the trap may have caused a lack of blood supply to the limb, which would have caused aching after 30 minutes and progressively worsened.
The cause of death was not able to be determined but contributing factors could have been dehydration, hypothermia and exhaustion from “struggling and shock”.
Stretching and muscle strain would have caused the feline “severe discomfort and muscle pain”.
Dorrian had told the inquiry he was aware there were cats about but stated they did not tend to go onto his property, on which he had built fences up over time.
The prosecution said Dorrian had “expressed significant remorse and has been co-operative”.
Judge James Johnston said the matter would benefit from a pre-sentencing report.
The judged convicted Dorrian and set a February date for sentencing.