A devastated cat owner has spoken out after a thug with a weapon fatally shot her beloved pet.
Keeley Pilling’s black-smoke feline Fester was found last Wednesday and a wound consistent with either a pellet or air gun was found on his body.
The neighbour, on Stout Street, in Leigh, who located his lifeless body, had CCTV footage showing Fester prowling along the wall before suddenly plunging to the ground.
Keeley, 26, has warned other pet owners in the area off Plank Lane their four-legged friends may not be safe outside and says she is now worried another of her cats, Sooty, who died last month, also met a similar suspicious end.
Keeley said: “Fester had been missing for a couple of days and after I put it on Facebook I got a phone call saying he had been found dead.
“Whatever he has been shot with has started in his back and gone into his spinal cord. The RSPCA inspector helped us find the wound.
“It has just been heartbreaking. We got Fester for me but he developed such a close bond with my mum. We’re devastated.
“We’ve lost two cats in less than a month. A neighbour found Sooty by the side of a rabbit hutch. We didn’t think to look at his body for a pellet wound but now I can’t help wondering if he was shot, too.
“People need to be aware this has happened. I know you can’t stop cats wandering but there are people in this area who don’t care and think shooting them is something to do. Owners need to make their cats’ safety the priority.”
The shooter is not visible on the CCTV footage but was standing on Mersey Street, which the yards of houses on Stout Street back on to.
The RSPCA visited the Pilling family home on Thursday and has confirmed it is now looking into the matter.
A spokesperson said: “We have received a report about a cat that was shot and died in Stout Street, Leigh, on Wednesday June 20. This must’ve been very distressing for the owners.
“We are looking into this and would urge anyone with information about what happened to get in touch.
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals. These are deliberate and brutal acts of cruelty. Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as we would like.”
Anyone with information about Fester being shot should contact the police on 101 or ring the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.