THE RSPCA is appealing for information about an illegal snare which caused fatal injuries to a young male fox after being set near homes in York.

Staff from the charity’s York Animal Home in Landing Lane, Holgate, were alerted about the distressing incident after a member of the public found the critically injured animal in a hedgerow near Rye Walk, close to Water Lane.

The illegal self-locking snare had caught the young fox around his middle and tightened as he struggled to free himself, causing appalling injuries. The wire loop device had been dug into the ground and attached to a stake which had been anchored down.

Rushed to a vet by staff at the animal centre who attended the scene on January 18, the snare had caused such severe injuries that the decision was made by the vet to put him to sleep to prevent further suffering.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Claire Mitchell, who is investigating the fox’s death and has made enquiries locally, has called it worrying such a snare could be placed close to housing where people may have pets.

York Press: The young male fox that was caught in the snareThe young male fox that was caught in the snare (Image: Supplied)

She said: “Our concern is that there may also be other devices set in this area. We are just very grateful that this fox was spotted and not left to suffer in this awful state for even longer.”

The RSPCA has called for people with information on the case to contact them, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018

The charity, which is campaigning against use of snares, confirms there are regulations about their use.

As the Press recently reported, York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell clashed with Scarborough and Whitby MP Sir  Robert Goodwill in parliament earlier this month about the use of snares.

The Conservative MP and farmer supports the use of ‘free-running’ snares, which remain legal, saying they are needed to control foxes.

However, the government has called for evidence on the issue.

Current regulations say it is illegal to set these devices for birds, deer, badgers and certain other species, though snares cannot distinguish between animals and may trap the wrong one.

People setting snares must ensure their use complies with the law, and such snares must be checked daily.

Self-locking snares, which killed the young fox, have been illegal since the approval of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They use a variation on the traditional noose, which tighten as the animal struggles to escape.

The RSPCA adds people should never try and release animals trapped in snares as their injuries may be more severe than you think. Instead, people should contact its emergency line on 0300 1234 999.