The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat suffered fatal injuries from being shot with an air rifle in a Staffordshire village.

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Two-year-old Monty died after a pellet went through his intestines, causing serious damage. He died in the early hours of Christmas Eve, just hours after he had been shot.

It is thought that he was shot in a wooded area between Cheadle Road and Hillside Road, in Cheddleton, near Leek, sometime on the 23 December.

It is the second cat shooting incident in the area which was reported to the RSPCA last month. The first incident happened on 8 December, which left a cat needing surgery on his leg after being shot with an air rifle at close range.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “It is very concerning that someone deliberately targeted an innocent animal like this. Monty would have been in horrific pain as a result of this incredibly cruel act.

“His poor owners are heartbroken by what happened and are worried that someone who lives near them harmed Monty. We and the police are investigating this matter and we would like to remind people that the penalties faced if caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can be up to six months in prison and a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”

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Monty’s owner, Diane Lockett, said that Monty’s death on Christmas Eve left them devastated over the festive period. “Christmas was forgotten about. We were supposed to have all of the family over at ours for a big Christmas dinner, but I couldn’t face doing it because we were all so upset,” she said.

“Monty was such a lovely cat. He used to go off wandering for hours at a time but as he got older he didn’t go out for very long and he never went too far. We all miss him so much.”

Anyone with information about the two incidents should contact the RSPCA’s appeals line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018, or Staffordshire Police on 101.

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.)