Action will be taken against people who illegally target animals with airguns following the death of a cat in Crewe, the RSPCA has warned.
The shooting left the male tabby and white cat with multiple injuries which were so severe he sadly had to be put to sleep by a vet to prevent further suffering.
The animal welfare charity was contacted about the incident after the injured cat was found in Frank Webb Avenue in Crewe on 28 October by a member of the public who had been feeding him.
He was unable to walk properly and was rushed for urgent veterinary treatment where X-rays revealed he had been shot in the spine.
The RSPCA has since learned that another cat survived after being shot in the head by an airgun in nearby West Street in January. A dog is also said to have been targeted and nearby residents have reportedly heard the sound of shooting from their houses.
People with first-hand information about the latest incident are being urged to come forward.
RSPCA inspector Lisa Lupson, who has made enquiries in the local area, said: “Airguns can cause horrific pain and suffering and we’d like to thank the team at Eden Vets for doing everything they could to try and save the life of this beautiful cat.
“It is unspeakably cruel, totally unacceptable and illegal to shoot animals for ‘fun’ – or as target practice – but sadly our emergency line receives hundreds of similar reports every year.
“We think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, but the RSPCA’s experience shows that there are people out there who are deliberately targeting wildlife, pets and farm animals with guns, as well as catapults and crossbows.
“The consequences of weapons being used on animals are devastating, with severe injuries often leading to death. What we hear about is probably only the tip of the iceberg as not all cases will be reported to the RSPCA directly and there may be situations where animals injured and killed by these weapons are sadly never found – especially in the case of wildlife.”
The RSPCA continues to call for stricter regulations around owning an airgun in both England and Wales. Better education, basic safety training for owners and a thorough explanation of the law could help protect countless animals from these horrible attacks in the future.
People with first-hand information about the incident in Frank Webb Avenue are urged to call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 quoting incident number 1176347. The shooting has also been reported to the police.
Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.