A stray cat who was stuck in an illegal steel hold trap in Southport is recovering after a leg amputation surgery on Monday.
Concerned community members are now offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Katherine Hufham said she awoke to a phone call on Saturday -- alerting her that a cat was stuck in a trap near Villages of Southport community off West Brown Street.
"My heart was beating so fast because I wanted to save this animal," said Hufham.
After searching for hours with a group of friends, "Lucky" was found stuck in a trap under an RV in a boat storage park. Hufham called 911 and several firefighters and police officers eventually freed the animal from the trap. Southport's Animal Control Officer, Charles Drew said the cat was likely stuck in the trap for 4-5 days before he was found.
"When I came down and saw the cat under the RV, my heart leaped because I knew we found him and there was hope," said Hufham.
The cat was quickly rushed to a veterinarian's office in Leland for treatment. After successful leg amputation surgery and being neutered, veterinarian officials say he is in stable condition. "Lucky" will be monitored at the vet's office for several more days before being released. Hufham says that the cat is just lucky to be alive.
"There's one thing I've learned," said Hufham with a smile. "To the world you're just another person but to a rescued animal, you are the world."
According to Drew, steel leg animal traps are never allowed in the City of Southport unless a permit is issued by the city. However, Drew says he has never issued a permit for a steel leg trap and has no plans to do so in the future.
The feral cat population has been a controversial topic in recent months. Neighbors who live in the nearby Cottage Point neighborhood voiced concerns about the cats destroying property and causing a nuisance. In March, the Homeowners Association announced plans to hire a licensed wildlife removal expert to set traps to curb the overpopulation of feral cats. However, after a rash of negative feedback from the public and notification from Drew that they would need a permit to trap, the HOA put their plans on hold. Chris Young, a spokesperson for the Cottage Point community tells us the HOA never set any traps nor did they hire a trapper.
Moving forward, Hufham says there's just two goals left, to find a home for "Lucky" and arrest the person responsible for setting the trap.
"We need to find the person who did this and they need to be stopped," said Hufham. "It's inhumane and disgusting."
Police are still actively looking for suspects. As of Monday night, we're told they do have a lead but no arrests have been made yet.
Anyone with information as to who set this trap, contact Southport Police or Charles Drew at 910-477-2365.
To make a tax deductible donation to Lucky's vet bill, go to http://bit.ly/SuHUpR and click "donate" (specify it is for "Lucky")
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