August 15, 2012
BOSTON, Aug. 15, 2012 – Despite having his right front paw ensnared in an illegally placed leg hold trap yesterday afternoon, three-year-old Maine Coon mix “Max” managed to find his way home to his family. His owners, Victoria and Michael Kickham, were shocked to see Max limping toward the front porch, dragging the rusty steel trap as he walked. They were able to remove the trap from Max’s paw before rushing the frightened feline to Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Once at Angell, emergency veterinarian Dr. Kiko Bracker administered pain medicine and ordered x-rays to determine the extent of the damage to Max’s paw. Luckily for Max, he suffered only puncture wounds and none of the bones in his foot or leg had been broken. Said Dr. Bracker, “This is a very lucky cat—it’s common for cats and other animals to suffer severe injury to bones and soft tissue when they step on these traps, and too often the injuries result in amputation. Fortunately for Max a thorough cleansing of the wound, coupled with pain medicine and antibiotics, will help him return to his ‘old self’ in short order.”
A close-up view of Max's paw after treatment at Angell Animal Medical Center (Credit: MSPCA-Angell)
The trap that ensnared Max, likely set to catch small mammals, was illegally and purposely set in the woods near the couples’ house. Said Linda Huebner, Deputy Director of Advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell, “An overwhelming majority of Massachusetts voters chose to restrict the use of these traps because they are inhumane and indiscriminate, catching any animal who steps into them. There are much more humane ways to resolve conflicts with wildlife that we detail on our Website’s Wildlife Resources page.”
Second High-Profile Case This Year
Max’s run-in with the trap follows the story of “Mr. Bates,” a cat found in February of this year with his leg caught in a steel jaw leg hold trap that had been purposely set. Unlike Max, Mr. Bates suffered severe injuries and required a full amputation of his left front forelimb. The MSPCA-Angell has been sheltering Mr. Bates since his injury and he will be heading to a permanent adoptive home the weekend of Aug. 18.
The MSPCA-Angell has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the danger of leg hold traps, which snap shut when animals step on them, crushing skin, bones and connective tissue and rendering the animal defenseless against the weather and predators. The MSPCA is wholly 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 or try to release animals from them.
As for Victoria and Michael, they are glad to have the frightening experience behind them, and relieved that Max is home safe and sound. Said Victoria of the incident, “I’m shocked that someone would use such a dangerous device in our neighborhood, and I worry that it was in a place where children could be hurt by it, too. Fortunately Max’s injury will heal and we believe he’ll be okay.”
Max at Angell Animal Medical Center (credit: MSPCA-Angell)
The couple has always tried to keep Max exclusively indoors, despite his tendency to break through window screens in order to reach the outside. “We’re obviously going to double down on our efforts to keep him inside at all times so something like this can never happen again,” said Victoria.
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 www.angell.org