Graham Witty

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Published on tvnz.co.nz 30/05/2019

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/christchurch-man-fined-using-prohibited-trap-catch-animals-eating-his-plants

A Canterbury man has been fined for using a prohibited trap for the purpose of capturing an animal.

Following a one-day trial yesterday at Christchurch District Court, Graham Witty was convicted and ordered to pay $500 towards SPCA costs and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon for one year.

In a statement the SPCA says the case began mid-2017 when a City Care labourer working in a Christchurch Styx drain which bordered the defendant’s property, noticed a noise which turned out to be a flapping and distressed pukeko.

The pukeko’s leg was stuck in a long spring leg hold trap which was secured to Mr Witty’s fence.

After the labourer set the bird free he then noticed another three traps, all set and hidden amongst shrubs and plants and the next day a further two traps were found.

On June 30, two SPCA Inspectors attended the location and found seven long spring leg hold traps which were individually secured to the boundary fence with blue wire.

All traps were seized.

On 4 July, a research warrant was executed at the defendant’s address, and a further five traps were seized.

Four of these were long spring leg hold traps and one was a restricted double coil leg hold trap that contained the remains of an unidentifiable animal foot.

Mr Witty told the Inspectors that he had set the leg hold traps to catch “whatever was eating my plants”.

“The Animal Welfare Order 2007 has prohibited the use of long spring leg hold traps since 1 January 1 2009,” SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said in a statement.

“Traps set in residential areas also increase the risk of injury to pet cats and dogs, and no leg-hold trap may be used within 150m of a dwelling without the permission of the occupier, or in any area where there is a probable risk of catching a pet animal.”