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Cat Caught in Illegal Leg-Hold Trap Underscores Why State-Wide Restrictions on Trapping Should Remain

August could easily have been killed by the trap (credit Randee Michaud) August pictured after surgery, recovering at home (credit Randy Michaud) August was severely injured by the trap and required surgery to remove dead and dying tissue (credit Randee Michaud) August's run-in with the trap underscores why such devices should remain illegal (credit Randee Michaud)MSPCA-Angell Tracking Pressure from Trapping Lobby Intent on Expanding Cruel Practice in the Commonwealth

BOSTON, July 22, 2016 – Salisbury, Mass. resident Randee Michaud has for the last two years greeted her beloved cat “August” in the driveway of her home every morning before leaving for work.  But on June 27 August did not show up at his normal time and Michaud knew immediately something was wrong.

“I whistled and called and minutes went by before he emerged between two houses, sped by me and ran up the stairs to my house dragging this rusty trap that had gripped around the side of his body,” she recalled.  “He was crying and so scared—and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Michaud rushed her pet inside and tried desperately to free him from the trap—which gripped tighter the more she struggled to remove it.  “Ultimately, the only thing I could do was wrap August in a blanket and drive him to the veterinarian.”  The Newbury Animal Hospital veterinary team placed the cat under general anesthesia while they worked to remove the leghold trap from his body.

Recreational trapping of animals with leghold or other body-gripping traps is illegal in Massachusetts.  The limits on trapping are, according to MSPCA-Angell Deputy Director of Advocacy Laura Hagen, more necessary now than ever.

“Trapping with these archaic devices not only imposes a slow and painful death on target wildlife but all too often on pets and other non-target wildlife as well,” she said.

Surgery and a Long Road to Recovery

Fortunately August survived his run-in with the trap.  He endured an extensive surgery to remove infected skin and tissue destroyed by the trap and is recovering at home.  “I’m so glad he survived and I hope his story inspires every pet owner to rail against these cruel and inhumane traps,” said Michaud, who is also transitioning August to residing exclusively indoors.

The MSPCA worked collaboratively with other animal protection organizations and citizen advocates from across the Commonwealth to ban recreational trapping with body-gripping traps in 1996.  And despite many challenges over the years the ban has held up.

Yet bills are filed every year that would legalize trapping of animals using these archaic devices. “Make no mistake: the trap in which August was ensnared was illegally placed,” said Hagen.  “Our concern is that should trapping again secure a foothold in Massachusetts we will see many more trapping related injuries and deaths, among wildlife and pets alike.”

Readers who want to learn more about trapping-related legislation can 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 and like us on Facebook at