Published: 11:27, 10 April 2019
| Updated: 14:31, 10 April 2019
A cat was found dead after being shot with a ball bearing from a slingshot, a post-mortem has revealed.
Beloved family pet Molly was discovered in a bush after what was initially thought be a dog attack.
Her heartbroken owner, Meghan Strong, warned others that "we live in a dangerous world", as police continue their appeal for information.
The 22-year-old from Denton, Gravesend, received a call from Animals Lost and Found in Kent after a good Samaritan handed Molly to them last Thursday.
She said: "The passerby saw a group of four or five boys with a ginger, brown and white springer spaniel.
"They said the boys looked like they were up to no good and the dog appeared to have something hanging out of its mouth.
"As they approached them, one of the boys shouted a command to the dog to drop what was in its mouth and then another boy kicked it under a bush and they all ran off down another path.
"She realised that it was a cat that was deceased and she called Animals Lost and Found in Kent who checked for a microchip and then we were informed of the incident."
An autopsy, carried out at the Northfleet branch of the Shrubbery Veterinary Group, also revealed the dog picked Molly up with such force that her organs were pushed into the left side of her body.
The retail assistant added: "I heard the news, my heart broke and I felt sick to my stomach.
"Losing a pet is always hard, but losing a pet in the way that we did, brings a type of pain and sadness that I can’t describe.
"Our hearts are still broken and we are just taking each day as it comes as time is the best healer.
"I am just grateful that she can be buried with her family.
"To some people, she may just be a cat, but to us she’s part of our family and we love her dearly."
The matter is being investigated by PC Peter Morgan, who said: "This was a cruel and callous act which has left Molly’s owners devastated.
"We are working with closely with the RSPCA as part of the investigation and I am keen to hear from anyone who may have information that will assist us with our inquiries."
The incident happened during the evening on Thursday, April 4 at the entrance of the alleyway on Mark Lane that runs to Dering Way, Gravesend.
Witnesses or anyone with information should call police on 01474 366149 giving crime reference 46/67204/19.
Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111.