Casper was found in the trap after going missing for two days (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS)
A kitten almost had its paw ripped off when it got caught in an illegal hunting trap which has been banned since 1958.
Nine-month-old Casper, who only started venturing outside in December, disappeared from his home in Salisbury, Wiltshire on March 6.
He was found two days later, at around 8pm on March 8, with a gin trap attached to his front paw.
Gin traps are mechanical devices that use spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge to catch an animal by its leg.
They were commonly used to trap rabbits and have been outlawed for almost 60 years.
Incredibly, Casper survived being caught in the brutal device, despite suffering injuries to his paw.
The incident has led the RSCPA to launch a public appeal to highlight the dangers gin traps pose to domestic and wild animals.
It is also asking anyone with information on the trap Casper was caught in to get in touch.
Vets said Casper was ‘lucky to be alive’ after getting caught in the trap (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS)
RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins, who is investigating the case said: ‘These traps are illegal for a reason – they are brutal and cause a lot of suffering.
‘It’s unacceptable that this kind of trap is still being used more than six decades after they were banned.
‘Gin traps have to be purposefully set in order to catch an animal so this can’t have been an accident.
‘Once they’re set, there is nothing stopping them from catching any type of animal that steps in its path, whether that is wildlife or a domestic pet.
‘Casper is lucky to be alive, sadly so many animals who find themselves caught in these traps are not so lucky.
‘It also terrifies me to think a child could have stumbled upon this trap and been left severely injured by the sharp metal teeth.’
Once gin traps are set, there’s nothing stopping them from catching any type of animal that steps on it (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS)
Charlotte Phillips, Casper’s owner, said it was a relief to have him back home.
‘Thankfully we managed to find him, but it was awful to see him caught in the trap and the injuries he’d suffered,’ she said.
‘I’d plead with anyone who has a cat that goes missing to please keep looking for them. It’s not enough to put up posters in the area or to post on social media.
‘You know your own cat and you know their routines, so you know when something isn’t right when they’ve not returned home.
‘We searched everywhere for Casper and only found him after my fiancé and son heard his cries while out looking for him.
‘They were able to carry him home and the trap was carefully removed before he was given treatment from vets.’
While it is not illegal to own or sell gin traps the RSPCA wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution for setting one of the devices.
Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal faces an unlimited fine and five years imprisonment.
The RSPCA has said it is ‘encouraging people to be vigilant’ and is appealing to anyone with information about where the trap was set to please get in touch by calling 0300 123 8018.
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