THE SSPCA’s senior inspector for Angus, Mark Lumgair, has called for all snares to be banned after an otter was killed in Glen Esk last month.

Tayside Police launched an investigation after a hillwalker discovered the remains of an otter – a protected species – in a snare on October 11.

Mr Lumgair said the incident demonstrated how indiscriminate and dangerous snares are and is exactly the reason the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is against their use.

He said: “We as the SSPCA are opposed to the use of snares. This is a prefect example as to why.

“The problem with snares is that they’re indiscriminate to what they catch.

“So the question would have to be, has this snare been set there deliberately to catch an otter? If this is the case the person responsible has to be caught and charged.”

Self locking snares are illegal but free running snares are still legal, as long as they are checked and any dead animals removed every 24 hours.

Anyone found guilty of setting illegal snares could face up to six months in prison, a £5,000 fine or both.

Mr Lumgair said this latest incident was just another reminder of how dangerous snares can be.

He said: “They cause unnecessary suffering. For example, my colleagues in Fife are dealing with a cat that got caught in a snare.

“They should be banned.”

Tayside Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer, Alan Stewart, has called for anyone with information about illegal snares to get in touch.

He said: “I can confirm that a dead otter was found in a snare in Glen Esk on the boundary of two estates and that a police investigation is under way.

“Talking in general about snares, they are legal provided they’re checked every day in intervals of not more than 24 hours and the snares are not self locking. Fox snares should also not be set up near fences where an animal could become entangled in the wires.

“If anyone knows of any illegal snares or has concerns about a snare they see, they should contact us.”

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