Published: 10:45, 09 August 2017
Police are appealing for information after a pet cat was found with a pellet lodged in her spine after being repeatedly shot.
The tabby, called Soxx, had to be put to sleep after the attack, believed to have happened between 8pm on Friday and 11am on Saturday near Drum Major Drive in Deal.
It is not the first incident of its kind to be reported to police in recent months. Another cat, Shadow, of Underdown Road, Dover, was shot in the eye last month and pet Kevin was shot dead off Church Lane, Deal, in June.
Marian Kitchener, who owned nine-year-old Soxx since she was a kitten, said: “This has devastated my whole family.
“It is always hard losing a pet but under these circumstances it has been even harder.
“We cannot believe or understand why someone would be so cruel.
“She has been shot several times and one shot lodged in her spine leaving her paralysed. She was put to sleep on Sunday on the vet’s advice. My daughter was there with her.”
The RSPCA told KentOnline's sister paper the East Kent Mercury that the number of calls to the charity reporting airgun attacks on animals is set to reach a five-year high. By June this year it had already received more than 470 calls compared to 455 during the same period in 2016.
The charity is backing calls for stricter regulations around the use of airguns.
“It is always hard losing a pet but under these circumstances it has been even harder." - cat owner Marian Kitchener
Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It is a depressing fact that every year hundreds of victims of airgun attacks are reported to the RSPCA. While wild animals are often victims, the most targeted animals are domestic cats that often suffer fatal or life-changing injuries.
“We receive hundreds of calls from devastated cat owners every year after they discover their beloved pets have been shot.
“It is difficult to understand how anyone could carry out these mindless attacks on innocent animals and we are backing calls for stricter regulations around owning an airgun.
“This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.”
He said July and August, when the days are longer and people are out and about more, are some of the busiest months for RSPCA inspectors investigating airgun attacks.
He continued: “It is a worrying sign that there could be a rise in the number of calls reporting animals that have been shot by people using air weapons. People need to remember the devastating consequences for both pets and their owners. Behind these statistics there are hundreds of animals that have been subjected to horrible amounts of pain and suffering.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 01843 222289 quoting reference ZY/036123/17, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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