Cat Caught in Body Gripping Trap Has Leg Amputated

February 16, 2012

BOSTON, Feb. 16, 2012 – On Tuesday, Feb. 14, a hiker in Southbridge stumbled upon a severely injured cat whose crushed left forelimb was ensnared in a leg hold trap that had been purposely set.  The hiker immediately called the local animal control officer and the cat was brought to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.  Surgeons at Angell concluded that to save the cat’s life they would have to amputate the leg.  The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement Department has launched an animal cruelty investigation, as it appears that the trap was unregistered and was likely set illegally. Veterinarians at Angell have named the cat “Mr. Bates,” after the loveable and lame character on the wildly popular Downton Abbey television show.


Mr. Bates underwent surgery on Tuesday afternoon and is recovering at the hospital.  He will be sheltered at the MSPCA until his owner can be identified or until the organization can find him a permanent home.


Illegal Leg Hold Trap Results in Severe Cruelty

Today’s news breaks against the backdrop of rising public awareness of the danger of leg hold traps, which snap shut when any creature steps on them, crushing skin, bones and connective tissue and rendering the animal defenseless against the weather and predators.  The MSPCA is opposed to the use of these traps as they inflict devastating and extremely painful injury on animals, and can endanger the people who set them.  The MSPCA Law Enforcement Department is actively investigating this case and urges anyone with information about who may have set the trap to call its Law Enforcement Hotline at: 800-628-5808.  The MSPCA is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to a successful animal cruelty conviction.   

 Mr. Bates caught in the trap, prior to his rescue (credit: MSPCA-Angell)


Readers can click here if they would like to donate to the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement department as it investigates this case, as well as the approximately 2,500 investigations of alleged animal cruelty cases annually.  In the event that a reward is not paid or claimed in this case, donations toward the reward will be used for future investigations including the care of the animals involved in each investigation. 


Dr. Meg Whelan, an emergency critical care veterinarian at Angell, said: “The cat’s left forelimb was badly damaged and the amputation saved his life.  The operation went very well and he is now recovering in our critical care unit. He ate this morning and is resting comfortably on pain medication. Despite having only one front leg we expect him to adjust and live a relatively normal life indoors.”


For more information about Angell Animal Medical Center’s Emergency and Critical Care Services click here.



The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit