A BLOCKLEY man who caught his neighbour’s cat in a snare has been ordered to pay a proportion of the vet’s bills by a county court.

Mr Anthony Gilbert, of Pinners Quarry, said he had set snares in his garden to catch foxes. However, a cat belonging to pensioner Sidney Lydiatt was found in one of the traps, after what could have been days of suffering.

At a small claims hearing in Evesham on Tuesday District Judge William Vincent ruled that because Mr Gilbert had not checked his six traps every day, he was liable for the bulk of the vet’s bill – totalling, with other costs, more than £200.

Mr Lydiatt, aged 78, said that his cat first went missing on Thursday, September 6. After days of searching it was found on Saturday evening snared in Mr Gilbert’s garden – some 150 yards away. “We had been out searching every hour of the day, even in darkness,” said Mr Lydiatt. He added that since the incident the cat, Tiger, had been afraid to leave the house.

Mr Gilbert said that he had set the snares to catch foxes that had been causing a nuisance in his garden. “I did not check the snares on Saturday but I did on all the preceding days. It is part of my morning routine,” he said.

Judge Vincent concluded that while it is not an offence to set snares, Mr Gilbert had a duty of care to check them every day.

“It is not a criminal offence to set a snare in your garden – but the law requires inspection at least once every 24 hours. In this case it looks as though it could have been up to 48 hours. The additional veterinary costs result from this breach of duty of care,” he said.

“I have found no negligence in setting the trap or in the fact of the cat being caught in it. However, I have found a degree of negligence in failing to secure the release of the cat on Friday morning.”

Judge Vincent concluded that Mr Gilbert was liable for £140 of the vet’s bill, representing the treatment needed due to the length of the cat’s captivity. He also had to pay £60 court costs.