Woman buys all of a Hackney store’s glue traps to save rats from a horrible death

rat Dalston E8 © RowenaBond@me.com
Shell: “the rat was so small and helpless”

AFTER LOVING DALSTON asked a London builders’ supplies chain why a customer had felt it necessary to buy every one of its rat-catching glue sheets, the company removed the grisly traps from sale.

Lisa Shell, 52, had been so horrified to find a dying rat gummed to a trap in an alleyway near her home that she marched to the local branch of Leyland SDM and handed over £145 for all the sticky traps in the store.

She told Loving Dalston, which contacted the chain’s marketing office. Its reply came the same day: the wholesaler-retailer would remove glue traps from its 22 outlets around London.

The traps are card or plastic sheets with an adhesive to trap rats and mice on touch. The RSPCA urges people not to use them, saying they condemn all kinds of creatures to an agonising death from exhaustion, starvation or suffocation.

The rat was barely alive when Shell, owner of a Hackney architectural practice, found it. It was “all glued on one side” and clearly in distress. The mammal had obviously been there a long time.

How to save other helpless creatures from a horrible end

She said: “I thought initially that all its guts had spilt out, but it was actually lots of poo.”

Establishing online that oil can dissolve glue she scrambled to free the rodent using her bare hands, scissors and olive oil. She explained: “It was wriggling to try to get away from me as I poured oil around it. I freed its head last in case it wanted to bite me, but I think it had glue in its mouth.”

In such situations, she learnt, a creature “will suffocate from having glue in its mouth and nose”.

She continued with a sob: “The rat had such sweet little hands… it was such a small helpless creature.”

The traps, which often cause unlucky wildlife and pets to gnaw off limbs or tear off patches of skin to escape, are still legal and widely sold in shops and online.

Shell, who was vegetarian for 20 years, recalled: “I went to Leyland in a terrible state to find that they were selling glue traps. I was very tearful… I think they thought I was going to do something crazy, but all I wanted to buy them.”

The staff were shocked but supportive when she bought all 38 to prevent more animal torment. “There was one guy who said ‘I think that’s very noble of you’.”

rats©Lisa Shell
The rat that spurred Lisa Shell into action

Leyland SDM told Loving Dalston: “After careful consideration, we have decided to remove the glue traps from our stores.

“We have 47 pest-control products, only two of which are glue-based, so our customers still have a wide range of options.”

The company joins Travis Perkins, Rentokil, Amazon and other suppliers that refuse to sell glue traps. A petition to Parliament last year failed and the tortuous traps can be easily found for sale online.

Stick it! Amazon refuses to sell glue traps

Shell said: “I am thrilled that Leyland has decided to do the right thing and I hope this has a snowball effect. But glue traps just should not be an option at all.”

A national ban was needed, and though she does not see herself as an animal rightist, she plans to campaign to make glue-trapping animals illegal in the UK.

Clara Murray 140920

* If you see glue traps on sale, email the RSPCA via wildlife@rspca.org.uk withthe retailer’s name, address and postcode, the manager/owner ’s name and the date. The organisation will write to the retailer to ask it to stop stocking the traps.  

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All pictures on this page © Lisa Shell, apart from lead pic

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