A pet cat had its legs broken and had to be destroyed after becoming snared in a trap during an eradication project the council forgot to inform residents about.
Burns Road resident John Tylor’s moggy Sam had two legs broken after becoming snared in the trap intended for wild dogs last Thursday, and had to be destroyed on the spot.
Blue Mountains City Council admitted it was an “oversight” residents in the area were not given letterbox notification about the nearby traps.
“In the event that it is necessary to undertake any trapping in the future, officers will ensure that the letter drop advice occurs as with previously successful programs, to ensure that the community is well informed and can manage their domestic animals to avoid the risk of injury,” a council spokesperson said.
Mr Tylor said the tragic outcome could have been avoided if he had been notified of the danger.
“I would have locked the cat inside for those few days [if I had known],” he said.
The pet dog of another Burns Road resident, Ian Watson, was also caught in a trap but was lucky to escape without any broken bones.
“While two of the fire trails where these traps were set are well away from housing, the trap which caught our pet was only 150 metres from a house,” he said in a letter to the Gazette.
“What’s more the trap was right at the side of the fire trail, not three metres into the bush, as is intended . . . There is something badly awry when domestic pets are being caught in this way.
“Our real fear is what would happen if a young child walked along that fire trail and stepped into such a device.”
Local ward councillors responded quickly after being alerted to the threat to domestic pets.
“It’s good to have the assurance from council staff that this oversight won’t be made again,” said Ward 3 Clr Brendan Luchetti.
Ward 3 Labor Clr Alison McLaren said it was “unfortunate that residents in Springwood weren’t notified of the traps as it may have avoided a family losing their pet”.
“Wild dog control is important but we need to ensure that in future all residents are informed that the traps are in place to avoid family pets, or worse, children being injured in a trap,” she said.
The council and National Parks and Wildlife Service began a trapping program in the Blaxland to Springwood area in recent months after receiving complaints about wild dogs.
The council spokesperson said it was “very unusual” for a domestic cat to be caught in the program since it was targeted specifically at wild dogs “and only canines have been captured since the first program approximately two years ago”.
While Burns Road residents weren’t notified via notices in their letterboxes, A3-sized signs were erected along the fire trail where the traps were placed.