I hope you will allow me the opportunity to use this forum to ask that landowners think carefully when considering using snares to control vermin.

Recently one of our two eight-month-old family cats was found suspended from a tree by a snare which had paralysed the cat’s hind quarters. We are hopeful that it will make a full recovery.

Our second cat met a gruesome end on the same night, owing to a snare which had caused our pet to wind the snare’s tether around a sapling until it strangled to death. Both snares were intended to catch rabbits.

I am not so naive as to think that the rabbit population should be allowed to overrun the countryside, but the sad loss of our pet and the manner in which it died could have been avoided.

Clear guidelines and advice on the effective, responsible and humane use of snares are available at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates/snares/pdf/snares-cop.pdf, or a copy can be obtained for the price of a phone call to Defra on 08459 556000.

It is ironic that the poor cat which died showed every promise of becoming an excellent hunter, regularly bringing an assortment of dead vermin into the house, which it would proudly lay on the hallway carpet or kitchen floor for our approval.

It might well have been stalking a rabbit when it met its end.

Peter Thwaites, Great Musgrave, Cumbria

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