A man who shot his neighbour’s cat with an air rifle while she was sitting on a garden fence has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after a prosecution was brought by the RSPCA.

Peter Shaw (DOB 19/10/1963), of Dane Bank Road, in Northwich, Cheshire, appeared at Crewe Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (13 November), where he pleaded guilty to an animal welfare offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, named Roxy.

The court heard that Roxy, who belonged to Shaw’s neighbours, suffered after being shot and had to be put to sleep after the pellet perforated her bowel.

Following the incident, Roxy’s owner Isobel Cooper contacted the RSPCA, who launched an investigation.

RSPCA inspector Cara Challinor said: “Isobel told us Roxy had just eaten her tea in the kitchen and then had gone outside in the garden. She jumped onto the fence which was between her and Shaw’s gardens, then all of a sudden her owner heard a bang and ran outside – she saw Roxy had fallen off the fence, she was gasping for breath, her tail was all puffed up and she was crying. Isobel looked over the fence into Shaw’s garden and saw him going back inside the house.

“Isobel rushed Roxy to the vets and an x-ray showed that there was a pellet inside her which they initially thought they could remove, however Roxy started to deteriorate and it was discovered that the pellet had actually perforated her bowel. Very sadly she was so poorly that the difficult decision was made to put her to sleep.

“Ourselves and the police were called, and the police seized an airgun from Shaw’s house. He said he had been shooting at targets in the opposite direction but it all added up.”

Isobel said: “Roxy was only six. She was very timid and very loving. She stayed in our garden all the time and she loved to walk around the perimeter of the garden guarding it.

“I miss her, it’s been really difficult and the children were really upset. She was a perfectly healthy cat and very loyal. We had three cats – Roxy was the youngest, and there was also Baggy who sadly died after being poisoned aged 13. We have Nala who is 16 and she is elderly.

“The only way for things like this to stop is for people to report acts of cruelty to the RSPCA.

“We would like to thank the RSPCA and the police for their kind help and support.”

As well as a 10-year ban on keeping animals, Shaw was given an 18-week custodial sentence suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and was told to pay £2,347 costs.