Beloved pet dog could have died after being snared on Queen’s Sandringham Estate

A beloved pet dog nearly died in late January after being caught around the neck by a deadly snare trap on the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

The dog, a rescue called Nell, was found by her owner after going missing for two hours during which time temperatures were plummeting to below freezing.

The incident is the second of its kind involving a trap on the estate in Norfolk, and flies in the face of leading royals’ public commitment to protecting the natural world, not least on their estates.

Nell, who has been with her owner for four years, was traumatised by the incident and although thankfully not injured, would have died if she had not been found.

Nell’s owner, a Norfolk resident who wishes to remain anonymous, said:

“To hear your dog barking, yelping and in stress, not understanding why she is not running back to you, then to find she is caught round the neck in a wire snare was heart-breaking.

“Thoughts go through your head – what if we didn’t find her as it was -50C that night?

“Who set the snare, would they return to the snare, how long would she be there, how would she be treated?

“She is a nervous rescue dog and we have spent years trying to instil trust in her. She was manic when we found her, constantly biting her paws which we presume she had used to try and get out of the snare.

“When we got her back home, she was running around the house, still biting her paws, until she collapsed in exhaustion. These snares are obviously indiscriminate and cruel, and totally unnecessary.”

In December, it emerged in The Times that a protected owl had been found dead in a trap on the estate.

The estate hosts commercial game shooting, and traps and snares are routinely employed to catch predators that would steal eggs or kill young pheasants – pheasants that are only bred to die.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“These snares and traps are cruel, indiscriminate and deadly, and if the royal family is serious about conservation, we are calling on them to set an example and stop their use.

“The royal family needs to substantiate its commitment to the natural world by putting the environment and the interests of animals before the narrow concerns of the shooting industry.

“We are calling for governments in England, Scotland and Wales to bring in a complete ban on the manufacture, importation, sale and use of snares to end the suffering of the huge number of animals caught in them every year.”



Notes to Editors

A snare is a thin loop of wire which ensnares its victims round the neck or other body parts and prevents them from escaping, often causing terrible injuries or suffocation as the animal struggles to break free.

Snares are used by gamekeepers on shooting estates to kill game bird predators, but they are indiscriminate in what they catch and their victims could include other wildlife such as badgers or people’s pets.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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