Pet dog crippled by illegal snare in Pat Heung

Owner finds dog missing for three days in rusty trap, possibly laid to hunt wild boar by locals

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 4:17am

A mongrel had its left front leg amputated yesterday after being caught in an illegal animal trap for about three days.

When two-year-old Ah Tai was found, his leg's skin and muscle had been stripped back to the fractured bone by the teeth of the rusty trap.

The dog went missing on Tuesday night along with his owner's other mongrel, Benz, which was also found in an animal trap on Wednesday.

The snares are thought to have been set by villagers to catch wild boars.

The owner, 67-year-old Cheung Yuen-ping, found Ah Tai in the bushes near Wong Chuk Yuen off Lam Kam Road in Pat Heung at about 10am yesterday.

Cheung said the metal trap was too strong and heavy for her to open, and she had to call firefighters to free the dog.

"The skin and muscle on the leg were ripped to the bone and the bone was fractured," she said.

"Ah Tai was very weak and starving after being trapped without food and drink for three days."

She said the normally medium-weight dog had become thin.

Cheung, a long-term resident of the village, took Ah Tai to a vet in Mong Kok, where she was told the dog's leg had to be amputated to save his life.

"It's very cruel to animals. The limb was badly crushed by the sharp teeth of the trap and he was in severe pain," she said, adding that those responsible for setting such traps should be penalised.

Benz, who was found in another trap about 8am on Wednesday, suffered only minor leg injuries.

Ah Tai was found after Cheung called in conservation officers to help her search for more animal traps.

The two traps were hidden in bushes on hillsides about a five-minute walk from the village.

Cheung said it was the first time illegal traps had been found in the district.

"I suspect they were set by people who wanted to eat wild boars," she said.

Crime squad officers from Yuen Long Police Station are investigating the two cases. No one had been arrested last night.

Setting illegal traps for animals is an offence under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance and carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of HK$100,000.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it was possible the two traps had been set by villagers to protect their farmland from wild boars.

A spokeswoman said villagers should stop using traps and build stronger fences to protect their land.

"It is very dangerous and could harm an individual," she said.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said one person and at least eight animals had been injured by animal traps since 2010.

The latest figures show 26 such traps were discovered in the first 11 months of this year.

There were 33 traps last year and 39 in 2010.