Police launch investigation after cruel woodland shootings
POLICE have launched an investigation following a succession of cat shootings in Bratton Fleming.
In the latest attack earlier this month, an animal was lucky to escape with its life after a cruel gun owner blasted it with a shotgun from point blank range.
Couple Philip Martin and Rebecca Townsend said black British Shorthair â€œBilboâ€ went missing for two days from their home in Church Close before turning up on their doorstep in a distressed state on November 3.
Mr Martin, 41, said vets initially thought his pet had been run over until x-rays revealed otherwise.
â€œThe force of the shot broke Bilboâ€™s hip and shattered his front left leg,â€ he said.
â€œIt must have been a fairly close-range shot as the entry wounds were all close together; one went right through his shoulder and came out the other side and missed his heart by only half a centimetre or so.â€
Bilbo is now making a slow recovery at home and the couple hope the animal, a pet to their three young children, will regain use of his leg.
â€œWe were completely shocked that someone could do something like that,â€ said partner Miss Townsend, 34.
â€œItâ€™s amazing that something so tiny could survive an attack like that.â€
Police said a similar incident was reported a stoneâ€™s throw away from the coupleâ€™s home on October 17 last year.
â€œDuring the last year, two cats have been shot in the same woodland area that backs onto a cul-de-sac of homes in Bratton Fleming,â€ said PCSO Gareth Woolway.
â€œThe incidents are being investigated as cruelty and criminal damage offences. In the latest attack, the animal sustained a broken hip and shattered leg and cost the owner around ï¿½1,000 in vet bills, not to mention the emotional distress it has caused the entire family.
â€œBilbo is quite obviously in a lot of pain with his injury but is coping due to the fact that he is heavily sedated.
â€œSuspicions are that the cat was shot in the woods to the rear of the property in question. We have conducted house-to-house enquiries but so far have proved negative. The cat is pure black so you would expect it to stick out. This means that it could be malicious.â€
PCSO Woolway said the animal in the first attack received similar injuries but had a leg amputated, costing owners around ï¿½800 to treat.
â€œWe donâ€™t think these animals were shot accidentally and want to raise awareness of the incidents,â€ he added.
â€œWe are appealing for witnesses to the event and also anyone who may have any information regarding suspicious â€˜goings onâ€™ within the area.
â€œWe would also like to warn other cat owners in the area to remain extra vigilant.â€
Anyone with any information can call police on 08452 777 444 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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