ST. ANTHONY, N.L.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
After a harrowing experience that resulted in their cat having its leg amputated, Wendy and Geoff Christenssen of St. Anthony are alerting pet owners about rabbit snares set within town limits.
While it’s not illegal to do so (something the couple hopes to see changed) the type of wire used to make the snare is against the law for such purposes.
In a letter to St. Barb-L’Anse aux Meadows MHA Christopher Mitchelmore, the couple explained how Pepper went missing for three days (July 29-Aug. 1).
When the cat finally came home, they say, Pepper was dragging her left front leg and was in a lot of distress and discomfort.
The couple took the cat to Dr. Maureen Osmond at the Animal Health Centre in Corner Brook – a five-hour drive from their home.
The veterinarian found a stainless-steel rabbit snare around the top of Pepper’s leg.
Wendy and Geoff left the cat at the clinic where Pepper was given antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and painkillers. They returned home hoping the leg would heal.
However, when things hadn’t improved by Aug. 7, the couple made the decision to allow the veterinarian to amputate Pepper’s leg, from the shoulder.
In seeking information about such snares, Wendy says she was told by the town’s manager there are no by-laws regarding the setting of animal traps/rabbit snares outside town limits. The only law in place, she says, is that animals must be tethered and not allowed to roam.
They told their MHA, in the letter, how they realize his department (Mitchelmore is the province’s tourism minister) is investing heavily in promoting tourism in the area.
“There are lots of people moving into town, plus visitors and tourists with pets walking around the town, and the surrounding countryside. All of these groups of people should be warned not to let their pets off leashes while visiting the province," they wrote.
The Christenssens suggested to their MHA that hunting should not be allowed within town boundaries and popular tourist destinations.
“We would really appreciate any help you can give us on how we can stop these cruel hunting practices in the Town of St. Anthony,” they wrote.
In an interview with The Northern Pen, Wendy says they’ve been living in St. Anthony for the past 12 years and they had lost another cat in October, 2016.
She says the animal had gone outside, but never returned. Now, she wonders if that pet had also been caught in a snare or some other type of animal trap.
Mitchelmore says his first thoughts on reading the correspondence from the Christenssens was to contact them to let them know he hopes their pet recovers quickly from the surgery.
Mitchelmore says he has followed up with the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources around the hunting regulations.
“It’s very clear that stainless-steel wire is an illegal wire and that’s an important message to get out,” he told The Northern Pen in a recent phone interview.
While it’s the couple’s hope the town will adopt a by-law to prohibit traps and snares from being set within town boundaries, Mitchelmore says that would need to be examined at the municipal council level.
The town’s manager is out of the office until September and could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Pepper is still recovering at home.
They picked up their pet at the vet clinic on Aug. 22 to make the five-hour drive back to their home in St. Anthony.