Fears that Derry cats are being caught for dog baiting
Fears that pet cats are being trapped and used as dog bait in a twisted blood sport were today raised by a North West animal welfare charity.
The Rainbow Rehoming Centre warned cat owners to keep their pets indoors as it emerged missing animals may have been snared in the Creggan area of the city.
Helen Davies, founder of the Eglinton animal shelter, said that they have received a lot of calls from pet owners in Creggan expressing concern over their missing pets. Other cats have gone missing from the Caw and Nelson Drive areas of the Waterside.
“The numbers are creeping up” Ms Davies said. “One woman rang us who has now had three cats who have gone missing on her. It is very, very worrying that people may be stealing cats.
“We fear they may have been trapped and used as bait for cruel bloodsports with lurcher dogs. We are urging cat owners to keep their pets indoors and to alert us of any suspicious activity.
“These people are using traps which are long steel cages to trap the cats using a lure of cat food or tuna.
“Creggan does seem to be a problem now and there was a problem there a couple of years ago too. People would think it was safe enough let their wee cats out as they are quite independent and people think they can look after themselves, and then they are broken-hearted when their cats go missing.”
Ms Davies said there had been other reports in the past of similar trapping in different areas of Derry, including Shantallow.
“Some time ago one of our staff was out walking her dogs on the Racecourse Road and she witnessed a young man with a cat trap and a black bin bag and a tin of tuna with him. She approached him and he took off,” she said.
The incident prompted Rainbow Rehoming Centre to conduct a leaflet drop in the area.
In a direct appeal to cat owners in the North West, Ms Davies said: “Keep an eye around your areas, in alleys, gardens and yards.
“If you have any information or see any suspicious activity please get in touch with the Rainbow Rehoming Centre and we can alert the PSNI. Please call: 028 7181 2882. Calls are confidential.”