The RSPCA has appealed for witnesses to come forward after a cat was captured in an illegal steel jaw animal trap near Delmonte Avenue at Medlow Bath.
Delmonte Avenue resident Glenda Veitch discovered a lost cat caught in the steel jaw trap had dragged himself under her porch on July 26. She took him straight to an emergency vet at Leura, and said the trap looked like a medieval torture instrument.
The cat was then transferred to the Katoomba Veterinary Hospital, where he spent almost two weeks recovering.
Veterinary nurse Tara Honeyman said the cat's front leg had been caught in the trap, puncturing his leg, but as he was a big cat he'd been able to pull the trap out of the ground and drag himself to safety.
She warned cat owners to be alert.
"People where possible should confine their cats to their properties," she said.
The trap could also sever a human foot.
"A dog, child, person walking on a bush track, anyone could get their foot stuck in that. It just needs to be triggered. It's very dangerous," Ms Honeyman said.
Upper House MP Emma Hurst from the Animal Justice Party said steel jaw traps are horrifyingly cruel and heftier penalties were needed in NSW.
"This cat was lucky to have been found quickly and rushed to the vet. In many cases animals often die from exhaustion, exposure, blood loss or shock before they are found," she said.
"NSW has some of the lowest penalties for animal cruelty in Australia. The maximum penalty for setting a steel jaw trap is just $5,500 or six months imprisonment, yet in Victoria this same offence has a maximum penalty of almost $40,000 or two years imprisonment. NSW should increase the penalties to, at a minimum, match those in Victoria
"Weak penalties do nothing to deter animal cruelty and risk the safety of children - we need tougher penalties with fines and jail time similar to Victoria to ensure the safety of human and non-human animals."
An RSPCA spokesman said it was illegal to set these traps and sightings were not an uncommon occurrence where cats and foxes were prevalent.
"RSPCA NSW is opposed to any method of control that does not result in a humane death," he said.
"An investigation cannot legally commence unless an eye witness comes forward with evidence. We ask anyone with firsthand information that could lead to a prosecution to come forward by contacting RSPCA NSW online or calling 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589)."