POLICE and animal welfare officers are investigating the use of rabbit snares on public land frequented by dog walkers.
Residents have been warned to be vigilant when walking in a woodland area behind Bridlington School after more than 20 wire snares were recovered from the site over the weekend.
Six snares were disarmed by a member of the public who was out walking his dogs on Saturday morning, followed by a further 15 the following morning.
The dog walker, who is an experienced huntsman and wishes to remain anonymous, told the Free Press that it was the first time he had ever found snares on public land in town and it was unusual to see so many in one area.
“It’s not something I have seen before around here. People set snares for hunting purposes but you just wouldn’t set that many traps.
“They were located on the short cuts that rabbits have made or near the entrance to warrens, and some of them were quite big.”
He said the snares were distinctive and stood out as they were made of copper wire, rather than the heavy grade fishing wire he would expect to find.
Over the weekend he released three rabbits from the snares, but he fears for the life of one which he said was so badly garroted by the wire its eyes were bleeding.
And he fears that if more snares are set it is only a matter of time before someone’s dog could get caught in one.
“There are so many other ways to control rabbits. There are also much more accurate ways,” he said.
“All the snares are made from 2-3mm diameter copper wire and some of the nooses were easy large enough for a large dog to have its head caught if it had the misfortune to get near
“I would hate for someone’s dog to be hurt,” he added.
The setting of snares is not illegal provided they are free running, not full locking, and whoever is setting them has the permission of the landowner to do so.
A spokesman for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has confirmed that there are no pest control orders in place on this particular site, and the council would not set traps to deal with rabbits.
RSPCA Inspector, and National Wildlife Co-ordinator, Geoff Edmond said they were now liaising with police and looking into the matter.
“We are concerned about this and we need to be making enquiries to find out who has set them, to find out if any offences have been committed, and if any animals have been caught in them,” Mr Edmond said.