Wiltshire Publications

Criminal investigation following ‘disgusting’ cat shootings

POLICE in Westburyhave launched an investigation following a number of reports of pet cats being shot by air rifle pellets.

At least three cats from the same area of Westbury have been shot since March, two of which died as a direct result of their injuries.

Police officers in the town are appealing for local people to appreciate the seriousness of the crime and help with their enquiries.

Local woman Caroline O’Shaughnessy has had two of her cats shot with the same .177 air rifle pellets. Two weeks ago her cat Dusty was shot in the paw and recovered after a visit to the vet. Dusty’s mother Whiskey, however, died soon after being shot in March.

Caroline said, “I’m devastated again and it’s truly frightening; I’m so worried about my cats. I think of the area I live in as being really friendly but knowing there is someone going round shooting people’s pets is just disgusting.

“The first time it happened we thought it was just a freak accident, but for it to happen again more than once shows that someone is out there who is intent on hurting animals.

“I can’t keep the cats locked up in the house all the time because it’s not fair, but I’m scared to let them out of the house.

“I hope anyone who knows anything about it will go to the police; they need as much information as possible. There’s not a lot we can do as members of the public.”

Anyone charged with cruelty to animals can be fined up to £10,000 and faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. Criminal charges can also be laid if someone is caught using a pellet gun incorrectly.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have information about these incidents.

Contact PCSO Neil Turnbull on 101 or by email at neil.turnbull@wiltshire.pnn. police.uk if you can help.

A survey earlier this year, by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), revealed that 41% of vets had seen cats with airgun injuries in the past year. The cases are reported to have become more frequent in recent years and often coincide with school holidays.