Cat Caught in Leghold Trap is Rescued and Gets Care

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The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Rescue Team, Athol Animal Control and the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University all pitched in to help a stray cat who ended up under a porch dragging an illegal leghold trap that was clamped onto one of his front legs.

Athol Animal Control called ARL  on Thursday, June 20, looking for assistance in their efforts to help the unfortunate cat, who had crawled into a shallow space under a porch. The family who feeds the cat saw him with the trap on the 19th and contacted Animal Control. Officer Jennifer Arsenault and her assistant were unable to get hims out from under the porch so they blocked him into the space until they could get outside help.

As his rescuers tried to bring him out from the crawl space, the cat found his own way out and tried to run, but he was stopped when rescuers threw a net over him.

The cat, later named Philbert, was highly agitated during his rescue by ARL team members, but never tried to lash out at anyone from ARL or at the Tufts animal hospital where he was taken for medical care , according to ARL spokeswoman Mia C. Tavan.

The trap had done so much damage that, after its removal, Philbert’s leg had to be amputated.

Spokeswoman Tavan commented on traps such as the one that cost Philbert his leg, saying “Two elements make it illegal. First, anything that catches a body part is illegal versus catching an animal in a box,” Ms. Tavan explained. “It is inflicting pain and suffering and can lead to infection and even death. Second, it is not attached to the ground and animals can run around with it, but that is less important than the fact that it grabs a body part.”

“The surgery went smoothly and we expect that the cat will be able to do all the things it did before,” said Dr. Emily McCobb, D.V.M., a veterinary anesthesiologist and director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “Animals are able to recover from amputations quickly and are able to resume normal activity, especially cats. While the cat was in our care, we were able to manage his pain and also get him neutered, which is an important aspect of care for free-roaming cats such as this one.”

Philbert is recovering from surgery at the ARL Boston shelter.

This video shows footage from Philbert’s rescue, on June 20, 2013, along with a couple of photos of the poor, dirty, injured fellow taken shortly afterward.



Leghold trap, like the kind that cost Philbert his leg. While illegal in Massachusetts, leg hold traps are sometimes set to catch bobcat and fox.  Residents are asked to report illegal traps when they find them.

ARL is accepting donations to help pay for Philbert’s care.





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