ANIMAL lovers are being warned to be vigilant after a cat was shot twice by an air rifle.
Leanne McMullen, of Kensington Drive in Higher Folds, spoke out after her seven-year-old black-and-white domestic shorthair Ozzy was attacked twice in the space of a few weeks.
She rushed Ozzy to the vet after he was shot in the side of his back by a pellet which ricocheted and fractured his spine last week.
An X-ray at the vet’s revealed Ozzy had a second pellet in his body, sustained about eight weeks ago when Leanne and her husband Stephen, 48, found him collapsed on the floor of their bathroom.
A shocked Leanne says the attacks on her pet have left her fearful for the safety of her other cat Jess and neighbours’ pets, and urged people with any information to come forward and report sightings of animal cruelty to the police and the RSPCA.
Leanne, 28, pictured, said: “The fact that some people are so cruel that they thought it was OK to do this to a cat is just unbelievable.
“It was on a weekday morning in broad daylight. My neighbour heard the sound of the gun going off and saw Ozzy get shot.
“It’s so lucky I was at home when he came back. How he managed to make his way across the gardens and fences then through the cat flap and upstairs to our flat I don’t know.
“When the vet then said he had a second pellet in him it was just shocking. He had an accident when he was younger, and when he collapsed we thought it was just arthritis aggravating his old injury or something like that.
“The wounds are so small and there’s no blood, so unless you are looking for them you don’t notice them. We spotted the change in his behaviour but didn’t know what to put it down to.”
Leanne is worried that whoever is responsible for shooting Ozzy may now target other cats in the area, and says pet owners should keep a close eye on their four-legged companions.
Anyone with information should contact the Leigh Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.