The RSPCA is warning about the dangers of deadly glue traps after a poor pigeon was left to die after getting stuck at a retail centre.

Glue traps, also known as glue boards or sticky traps, consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-drying adhesive.

Unfortunately, these traps are currently legal and generally used to catch rodents, whose limbs get stuck to the glue boards as they move across them.

The animal welfare charity is encouraging people not to set glue traps because of the dangers they pose to wildlife and even pets.

A Private Members' Bill – the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill – is presently progressing through Parliament, and aims to make certain uses of glue traps an offence in England.

The pigeon was found by staff at the Odeon Cinema in the Trafford Centre in Manchester stuck by its chest and wings on Monday (December 13). They placed the pigeon in a box and alerted the RSPCA.

RSPCA Inspector Paul Heaton was sent to the scene but sadly realised the poor pigeon had damaged its wings and body. Unfortunately the bird had to be put to sleep to end his suffering.

Paul said: “I could tell the bird was in a suffering state; the wings and feathers were also stuck to the glue and were badly damaged – this poor bird must have suffered terribly.

“I find the use of glue traps horrendous. People sometimes use them to deal with problems caused by animals like rats and mice but they are cruel and cause awful suffering to all types of animals who are often left helpless and suffer a lingering death.

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“I hope businesses in the area take heed and remove any other traps which may be around. The Odeon staff have agreed to remove any they find.”

Last year, on November 5, Paul also attended an incident in which a robin was stuck by its chest, legs and wings in a trap left on Pink Bank Lane, Levenshulme).

The bird had broken both legs in trying to escape from the trap and again sadly had to be put to sleep to end the suffering.

The RSPCA’s scientific officer, Evie Button, said: “We’re opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all glue traps because they cause unacceptable suffering and are totally indiscriminate in what they catch, ensnaring wild animals like birds and even pets.

“Glue traps may seem like an effective way to catch rodents without killing them, but they come with very serious welfare issues and subject those animals unfortunate enough to get caught to horrific suffering.

"Even the way they’re designed to catch animals – by sticking their limbs to the board as they cross it – inflicts pain and distress.

“The RSPCA is welcoming moves to clamp down on the use of cruel glue traps in England after the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill became one step closer to becoming law last month and it will now proceed to a committee stage for detailed debate.”

Despite the current lack of any legal restriction on who can purchase and use these traps, any animal caught in a glue trap is protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

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This means that if an animal suffers unnecessarily as a result of inappropriate or poor use of the trap, or through a failure to release or kill the animal in an appropriate way, an offence may have been committed.

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.

Although some actions may be taken against wild birds under licence, the use of glue traps is not permitted under any licence.

Anyone caught deliberately using a glue trap to catch, injure or kill a wild bird can be sentenced to up to six months in prison and given an unlimited fine if found guilty.

If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999 – however, never try to free an animal from a snare or trap – you risk hurting yourself and the animal.

In many cases, animals are more seriously injured than they might look, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need veterinary treatment. For more information on the RSPCA’s glue traps project and how to report any traps you see on sale to the general public, please visit the RSPCA’s website.

Paul added: “Our rescue teams will be out in all weathers this winter, rescuing animals – like this pigeon – from abuse, neglect and suffering.

"The charity – which relies entirely on public donations – is calling on the public to Join the Christmas Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/rescuexmas.”

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