Animal cruelty investigation underway after cat trapped illegally in Holladay

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HOLLADAY, Utah -- Salt Lake County Animal Control is investigating after a cat turned up in a Holladay neighborhood with his paw tangled in a trap.

The Humane Society of Utah said whomever is responsible could face criminal charges, and, because the cat's injuries were so severe, a veterinarian had to put the feline down.

Mindie Booth retraced the steps the cat painfully took in front of her house in Holladay.

"The babysitter's car was parked here, and they noticed the cat just underneath," she explained. "They saw it run off, and that's when they noticed the trap."

She walked through her yard, just as the cat did Friday morning, explaining how two LDS missionaries who spotted the cat tried to track him down and pick him up. The cat's paw was entangled in a foothold trap.

Booth said her babysitter called her, and she immediately came home.

"Poor kitty, his foot was hanging by a thread, and I could see bones," she said, describing the cat's paw. "It was horrible."

Booth brought the cat to Union Park Veterinary Hospital in Cottonwood Heights. There, Dr. Kirsten Doub said the sight left her staff in shock.

"It was completely macerated, open fractures, the whole distal part of the paw was missing, and all of the bones were completely crushed," she said.

Plus, the cat suffered damage to another paw, and his tongue was split.

Dr. Doub said they were left with little choice but to put the kitty to sleep. Based on the fact that he had no collar or microchip and wasn't neutered, she's guessing he was a stray.

The ordeal left a lot of questions.

"I was shocked when I saw that trap," Booth said. "It does it makes me nervous."

DWR took a look at photos of the trap, and explained that the foothold trap is meant for small fur-bearing animals like raccoons, muskrat and skunks.

What was this kind of trap doing in the middle of a Holladay neighborhood? That's what Salt Lake County Animal Control wants to know.

Animal control officers came out to Booth's house to investigate Friday afternoon.

She said they told her: "Down here in the city, any kind of trap like that is illegal."

And this trap, they said, didn't appear to have a registration ID number attached to it, like traps are required to have by law.

"It's simply illegal to be setting a trap period, without being licensed to do so," said Deann Shepherd, The Humane Society of Utah's Director of Marketing and Communications.

She said if the trap wasn't registered, and with the cat having died after getting caught in it, whoever set it could get criminally charged.

"They can be charged with animal cruelty for causing injury or death to the animal," she explained.

Salt Lake County Animal Control confirmed they are investigating and have collected evidence. They could not comment further on the investigation.

Shepherd urges people to use live traps or to call animal control if they are trying to catch stray cats or nuisance animals, that way the animal issues can be addressed without them being harmed.

8 comments

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  • bob

    What’s a cat doing running around loose in Holladay?

    Nobody ever mentions that part. Responsible pet owners don’t let their pets run around loose. Cats allowed to run loose have very short lives that nearly always end violently. The long term survivors are the exceptions.

    By all means file animal cruelty charges against the “trapper”, but find the owner and prosecute THAT person as well. Equally.

  • Larry Kanno

    Maybe if these cat and dog owners loved their pets they would do more to keep them contained ON THEIR PROPERTY to keep them from wandering into other places where they are unwanted or in danger. Do you let your children you love, wander anywhere into streets and strangers yards and homes? Not everybody loves stepping in dog poop from someone else’s dog or cats digging up your newly planted garden so they can find a soft place to relieve their bladder. People need to take responsibility. I take care of my animals and keep them confined on my property.

  • Mellie

    I am ashamed by some of the comments here. The fact that the cat was out loose doesn’t have anything to do with it. Pets can escape from yards and homes all of the time by mistake. Assuming that the owner “didn’t care” is utter BS. Someone is placing illegal and dangerous traps in random areas, on property that DOES NOT belong to them! If a child or a person had stepped into that your opinions would have definitely shifted. Completely disgusting.

    • Sondra

      I agree for the most part. People should focus their attention on the real issue which is that someone is placing these dangerous illegal traps in a neighborhood. I don’t believe they stated that it where it was planted, just that the cat was found with the trap attached in someone’s yard. It is a nice thought that people would keep their animals on their property, but that is not reality. Many animals are abandoned and left on the streets and then something like this happens. It is disturbing. While the original owner is in the wrong if this cat was indeed a stray, the person placing these traps is more so in the wrong as they intend to cause harm to an innocent animal. This is tragic and I do hope that the person responsible is charged for his actions on this poor cats life.

    • ERIC ANDERSON

      I don’t want your cat coming into my yard and killing my birds Mellie. Be a responsible cat owner, keep your cat at home where it belongs, and don’t force me to have to deal with it.

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