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The Legalities of Cat Traps

The Alberta SPCA occasionally opens investigations involving Albertans trapping cats on their property where the animal suffers distress. While it is the legal right of a property owner to catch cats while on their property, there can be serious legal ramifications for the person doing the trapping if the animal is harmed in the process.

The moment the cat is trapped, the person who set up the trap has the legal responsibility to ensure the health and welfare of that animal. If the cat becomes distressed, the property owner can be charged under the Animal Protection Act.

Once the cat is trapped, the property owner has three options;

  • the cat may be released in the hope the experience deters the cat
  • the cat may be returned to owner, if known
  • the cat may be turned into the local municipal animal care facility
Property owners should consider their plans for the trapped cat before setting up the trap.

The killing or harming of other people’s cats is prohibited under Section 445 of the Criminal Code of Canada, abandoning animals is an offence under Section 446 of the Criminal Code.

Any traps used must be live traps. The use of leg hold traps for domestic animals is an offence under the Criminal Code.

Traps should only be set in locations where they will be protected from inclement weather and other potential hazards. They should be monitored and checked at least twice a day.

Traps must only be set on property owned, leased, or rented by the user or with the permission of the person owning, leasing, or renting the property.

Wildlife must be released in compliance with the Wildlife Act.

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