The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat was shot in Harwood, Bolton.
Three-year-old Edward had to be operated on to have the airgun pellet removed, and vets say he had ‘a lucky escape’, as the pellet just missed his vital organs.
His owner Angela Paxton-Taylor, who lives in Orchard Gardens, said: “It’s nearly two weeks since it happened and thankfully he’s recovering well.
“He was behaving strangely on the Saturday (2 May), and wouldn’t eat his food, then I noticed a lump on his side.
“Initially I wasn’t too worried but he spent that day licking the lump and when he’d exposed it I could see he’d been shot.
“I rushed him to the vets who x-rayed him and operated on him to remove the pellet. They said he was very lucky that it hadn’t penetrated his abdomen or thorax.”
His owner thinks he was shot on either Thursday night (30 April) or Friday night (31 April).
“I had a cat called Leonard who was found dead on New Year’s Eve 2016, he was only 12 months old. A neighbour moved out after their cat got shot, so I am very concerned,” Angela said.
“There is a primary school very nearby and it’s extremely worrying that someone is using an airgun so close by.”
RSPCA inspector Emma Dingley, who is investigating, said: “We receive around 1,000 reports a year of animals who have become the victims of airgun attacks.
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals. These are deliberate and callous acts of cruelty.
“If anyone saw anything or has any specific information that might help me to look into this please call the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for me.
“Edward is going to recover from this horrible incident, but it could have been very different, and whoever did this has caused suffering to him, as well as to his owners.”
The RSPCA is calling for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.
Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.
To help the RSPCA keep investigating incidents like this, rescue animals and keep our hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and care through these unprecedented times, please donate whatever you can spare at www.rspca.org.uk/covid