08:00AM, Thursday 02 March 2017
Dave the cat with owner Sarah Sheikh
A ‘deliberate act of cruelty’ left a cat with an air rifle pellet lodged in its head, leading its owner to appeal for those responsible to come forward.
Sarah Sheikh, 41, says Dave, a nine-year-old tabby, could lose an eye following the ordeal.
The mum-of-three noticed there was something wrong with the family pet when he returned to her home in Larchfield Road on Tuesday, February 21, and was ‘generally acting strangely’ as well as struggling to eat.
The next day she took him to a vet, who found the pellet after an x-ray.
“It’s horrendous, absolutely awful,” she said.
“But I spoke to the RSPCA, who put me in touch with the local inspector straight away.”
It is thought the shooting happened close to her home, where she lives with her husband and three daughters, as well as two beagles.
In a message to the attackers, she added: “Stop targeting animals, be a good citizen and let someone know what you’ve done. Someone should not be allowed to think it’s OK to shoot an animal in a built-up area.”
The RSPCA is campaigning for tighter control on who can buy the weapons, as well as education on the damage they can do in the wrong hands.
Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to hurt an animal faces the prospect of six months in prison or a fine of up to £20,000.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Sharon Chrisp said: “It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals.
“This was a deliberate act of cruelty and we would appeal to people’s consciences not to commit these offences.
“Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as we would like.
“The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal.
“Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.”
Anyone with information can call the RSPCA Inspectorate Appeal Line anonymously on 0300 123 8018.
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