The Scottish SPCA is offering to help those who operate legal animal traps before they inadvertently break the law amid the coronavirus travel restrictions.
Those that set traps and snares to control certain species are legally obligated to return once within every 24 hours to ensure they are not causing unnecessary suffering to the animals caught in them.
Due to the measures put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, the Scottish SPCA understands it may be difficult to get back to the traps within the legal timeframe.
The charity is offering to work with land managers and trap snare operators and will send officers out to check on the devices.
A special investigations unit chief inspector, who cannot be named due to undercover operations, said: “During the pandemic we understand that there is restricted movement and that people may be unwell or self-isolating.
“Our concern is that those who may have set traps or snares may be in this situation and not able to get back to them within the legal timeframe of once every 24 hours.
“We have had evidence of creatures being confined for longer and dying of stress or starvation as a result of not being able to get free.
“As the snares and traps will have not been checked within this timeframe, they will now be illegal and the person responsible for them will be breaking the law.
“We are here to help anyone who finds themselves in these circumstances.
“People can contact us and let us know the whereabouts of the devices and we will attend and make them safe so that no animal will suffer.
“We are willing to work with land managers and trap snare operators to ensure animal welfare law is being adhered to.
“If anyone has any information relating to traps or snares they believe are not being checked, then this can be reported to us in confidence and we will investigate.
“People can contact our confidential animal helpline and we will do all we can to assist.”
For more information, call the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
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