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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Seriously ill Canterbury mum Leanne Bell's distress as cat Casper fights for life after air rifle shooting

09 March 2014
by Jamie Bullen

Leanne Bell, 27, of George Roche Road, Canterbury, was heartbroken when Casper stumbled through his cat flap in distress before he collapsed on the kitchen floor.

X-rays taken by vets at Companion Care, in Wincheap, revealed an air rifle pellet lodged in Casper's chest - narrowly missing his vital organs.

Casper the cat was shot by an air rifle

Casper the cat was shot by an air rifle

Mother-of-one Leanne suffers from the incurable disease vascular Ehlers-Danos syndrome (EDS) and said Casper and her two other cats offer her comfort while she remains at home, often bed-bound.

The condition - which weakens the skin, joints, organs and blood levels through a lack of collagen - affects one-in-250,000 people, lowering the life expectancy of sufferers to just 48.

Mrs Bell said: "We cannot believe it ourselves – it's actually heartbreaking to us."

An x-ray of the air rifle pellet lodged in Casper’s chest, narrowly missing his vital organs

An x-ray of the air rifle pellet lodged in Casper’s chest, narrowly missing his vital organs

She added: "He was only gone a few minutes so I'm sure it happened on our estate. He came back making horrible noises and at first I had no idea what it was.

"Then he collapsed, so me and my husband rushed him to the vets, still in our pyjamas. I believe he was shot by someone from one of the windows.

"I want people on this estate and just off it to know that there is a hideous excuse for a human out there, and be cautious when letting their pets out. The police are involved."

Mrs Bell's six-year-old daughter Alicia, who also suffers from EDS, was at St Mary's School in Whitstable at the time of the attack.

Leanne Bell and her daughter Alicia, from Canterbury

Leanne Bell and her daughter Alicia, from Canterbury

Mrs Bell added: “Casper is one of our three cats. As I have spent much of my time in bed or homebound being chronically ill, they can be my only company.

"They are a great comfort to me, not to mention affectionate members of the family for Alicia.

"We haven't been able to tell her yet, but she's going to be extremely upset. We don't know whether he is going to pull through or not."

Six-year-old Alicia Bell drew a picture of her beloved pets just weeks ago

Six-year-old Alicia Bell drew a picture of her beloved pets just weeks ago

Vet Andy Doel said Casper has responded well to treatment, although he may need surgery if he suffers from internal bleeding.

He said: "He is a very lucky boy indeed."

The incident happened about 9.30am on Wednesday.

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