OneKind has welcomed a community payback order for a man convicted of snaring offences in East Lothian.
Craig Aitken (43) from Haddington was today (Wednesday) sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for charges relating to setting illegal snares and stealing GPS fitted cameras. Aitken pled guilty to the wildlife crimes and also admitted stealing the cameras which had been placed covertly by the Scottish SPCA.
Aitken has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and given a Restriction of Liberty Order which requires him to stay home between 9pm and 8am for a six month period.
OneKind Directory Harry Huyton said: "OneKind welcomes the sentence handed down to Mr Aitken as it recognises the severity of these offences. Snares are inherently cruel devices which cause horrendous suffering to animals which become trapped in these crude, wire nooses.
"Despite Scotland having strict regulations around the use of snares we are still seeing an unacceptable level of suffering linked to their use. Month on month we receive numerous reports to our dedicated reporting website, SnareWatch.org, illustrating the grim reality of snare use in Scotland."
In the last month OneKind has received two harrowing reports of pets trapped in snares. In one, a cat lost three claws and suffered injuries to its face, tongue and paws after becoming caught in a homemade snare in Edinburgh. In the second, a Jack Russell dog became trapped in a snare set close to a footpath in Kirkcudbrightshire. Fortunately, the dog's owner was able to release him from the snare without serious injury.
Harry Huyton added: "These cases show all too clearly the indiscriminate nature of snares, meaning any animal, be it the intended victim or a domestic pet, can become trapped and ultimately suffer.
"In these two recent examples the animals were lucky to have caring owners able to free them and ensure they received the necessary treatment. Sadly, this doesn’t happen to wild animals caught in snares. Instead, they often suffer horrific injuries and a slow, painful death. The only way to put an end to this cruelty is to ban the sale, manufacture and use of all snares once and for all."
Members of the public can report their concerns about snares on OneKind's dedicated website www.snarewatch.org