The RSPCA is urgently appealing for information after a cat was shot in Coventry – in the next street to where two other cats have been shot since April.

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The animal welfare charity was contacted by the upset owners of four-year-old cat Bensi, after he suffered an injury to his leg. An x-ray later showed that he had been shot with an air rifle pellet.

It is thought Bensi, pictured above, was shot at some point in the evening of Monday 26 June, or the early hours of Tuesday 27 June, near his home in Earlsdon Avenue South. He is now recovering.

The latest incident comes just five weeks after a cat was shot near her home in Mayfield Road, Earlsdon, and after another cat had his leg amputated after being shot in Stanway Road in April.

RSPCA inspector Louise Marston said: “All of the cats live on streets which are next to each other, so I have no doubt in my mind that the same person is committing these horrible acts. Thankfully, none of the cats have lost their lives, but what they have been left with are painful and nasty injuries.

“I am extremely concerned that there is someone deliberately targeting cats in the area, again and again. The police are also aware.

“These are deliberate and brutal acts of cruelty and I find it very distressing to think that someone is taking pleasure out of doing this. I am keen to find out who did this as deliberately harming a cat like this is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.

“We are urging cat-owners in the area to be cautious and to keep an eye on their pet for any signs of injuries. We are also urge anyone who has any information about who is shooting the cats to contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018. I am concerned that more cats will be targeted so the sooner we find out who is doing this, the better.”

Inspector Marston added that the RSPCA is supporting Cat’s Protection’s call for tighter controls on air weapons. She said: “This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun could help relieve the problem.

“These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering and it is illegal. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can be up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”

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.)