Dog loses leg in snare
Spencer with owner Sandra

A dog is recovering after having its leg amputated following a horrific accident in a wood.

Sandra Ortu was walking her two Lurchers in Redlands wood, Coldharbour, at the beginning of the month when she suddenly heard distressed yelping from one of her dogs.

Miss Ortu, 38, from Horsham, who often walks her dogs, Spencer, three and Ronnie, four, in the area, said: “My dogs had run ahead and I heard a scream from a dog so I called for them and Ronnie came back.

“I kept walking and I saw Spencer trying to come towards me and then I saw a red stick that was his leg.

“His skin had been completely ripped off. His muscle was hanging off and you could see the veins and tendons.

“I just started screaming. It was such a horrible sight.

Miss Ortu rang the vet immediately and Spencer spent a week at the vets before a specialist decided his leg had to be amputated.

Miss Ortu said Spencer’s recovery had been difficult.

“He has had to re-learn everything. He has had to learn how to go on the stairs and even how to go for a wee,” she said.

“He has a little run but he gets tired.

“It is the most painful thing to watch. He is only three years old, he should not have three legs.”

Miss Ortu is not sure what caused Spencer’s injuries, but believes he became caught in a snare.

Now she has contacted the National Anti-snaring Campaign.

Simon Wild, from the organisation, said: “Judging by the appearance of the wound it looks consistent with a snaring injury. Something tight has caught around the leg and yanked it tight.”

“We have been out to Redlands wood and we haven’t found any snares but they could have been moved. “Snares are a very significant problem around the country. We have had nine recent reports of cats being snared.”

However, the Forestry Commission ranger for the area, Glen Boxhall, has assured walkers there are no snares in the area.

He said: “It is a great shame that this has happened but the Forestry Commission has a policy of no traps.

“I have looked everywhere and there are no traps in the area. The dog could have caught itself on something and the skin has literally ripped.”

Follow Up: Gamekeeper told of Animal Snares

In response to your article “Dog loses leg in woodland horror” Advertiser April 2, 2009.

The article stated that Glen Boxhall has assured walkers there are no snares in the area and he made it clear the Forestry Commission has a policy of no traps.

The Forestry Commission lease areas of this land to a gamekeeper for rearing pheasants for the annual shoot.

Redland Woodland and Bury Hill Woods, off Coldharbour Lane, have at least four huge pens for rearing chicks. These chicks are put in pens in April/May for fattening up and once they are able to fly over the top of the fence, are free to roam the woodland.

There are lots of “grain” feeding stations for these birds around the woodland, visible just off the paths.

I was in Bury Hill Woods last November with my dog when he ventured several feet from the path.

A gamekeeper’s vehicle was coming towards me at the time and I presumed he was going to feed the pheasants.

He stopped his vehicle and told me that the birds are in abundance this time of year and that I should not let my dog leave the track as snares are in operation around the pens.

I expect the reason for this is to prevent foxes from gorging themselves on ‘easy pickings’.

Surely an electric fence around the pens would be far safer.

I suggest that the Forestry Commission do some thorough investigation into the running of these pens and check for any hazardous traps.

Name and address supplied
Published: 9 April 2009 – Surrey Advertiser