The RSPCA is appealing for information after a kitten had to have her leg amputated after being shot by an air rifle.

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Three-month-old Willow, pictured right, was found by her owner in Sturminster Way, Corby, on Friday (25 September) with a wound to her left front leg.

She was taken to the vets, where it was found that two pellets had caused the bones in her leg to shatter in such an extreme way that her leg had to be amputated.

Willow’s owner Rhona Dickie, 40, said that her and her family were in shock. She said: “I found Willow in the back garden and I thought at first she had fallen off something. It was only when we got her to the vets that we found out she’d been shot.

“The vet said that her injuries are so severe that she was more than likely to have been shot at close range, which makes me think this was a deliberate act. She is only a kitten and is so small.

“I’m devastated, and so are my two daughters. We just can’t comprehend why someone would do this and we are all in shock.”

RSPCA inspector Clint Davies said: “This is a horrific incident and one which would have left Willow in great pain and in a lot of distress.

“However it happened, there is a cat who is suffering greatly from very serious injuries and we want to make sure that no other animal goes through this again.”

Anyone with information should contact the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 123 8018.

Those found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could face a maximum six-month prison sentence and/or a £20,000 fine.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our Inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).