The RSPCA has launched an appeal for information after an illegal snare caused fatal injuries to a fox in a residential area.

Staff from the animal charity's York Animal Home were made aware of the upsetting incident after a member of the public discovered the critically injured young male fox in a hedgerow near people's homes on Rye Walk.

The illegal snare trap which locks itself and tightens around animals caused further injuries to the fox as it struggled to escape. The wire loop device had been dug into the ground and attached to a stake which had been anchored down.

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Staff from the RSPCA's animal centre who attended the scene on 18th January rushed the fox to a vet but the decision was made to euthanise the animal due to the severity of its injuries.

The RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all snares and traps which cause suffering, and have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018.

The Northern Echo: The young fox was caught in an illegal self-locking snare.The young fox was caught in an illegal self-locking snare. (Image: RSPCA)

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Claire Mitchell, who is investigating the fox’s death said: “It’s a devastating sight when you see a beautiful, wild animal with horrific injuries like this.

“This was an illegally set self-locking snare which had caused untold suffering to this young mammal. Worryingly, it had been placed in close proximity to residential streets where people may have pets, and our concern is that there may also be other devices set in this area. We are just very grateful that this fox was spotted and not left to suffer in this awful state for even longer.”

“These cruel and barbaric devices have devastating consequences and I’d urgently appeal to anyone with information about this incident to get in contact with us.”

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Although it's illegal to set these types of devices for birds, deer, badgers and certain other species, the RSPCA's position on snares is that they should all be prohibited because they don't discriminate between animals and could potentially trap and harm any species.

The type of snare found in York was an illegal self-locking snare, which has been completely prohibited from use in the UK since 1981.


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Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 users of free-running snares must take all reasonable precautions to prevent injury to protected animals, but precautions provide no guarantee against such an event.

It is also a legal requirement that snares be checked at least once a day, yet from the severity of the injuries caused to a lot of animals it seems that many people do not follow even this minimal requirement.

The RPSCA advise that people should never try to free an animal from a snare or trap as they are often more seriously injured than they appear. If you find an injured wild animal, then stay back to avoid stressing the animal and call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.