A pet cat was left in agony after being callously shot with an airgun - the second such attack in Mid Sussex this year.
A grey and white pet cat called Fang died after being shot in Haywards Heath in January. Now another cat - a two-year-old pet called Pepsi - has been shot in Burgess Hill.
Pepsi’s owners were distraught when he returned home with breathing difficulties and unable to use his front leg.
They rushed him to Heath Veterinary Clinic in Burgess Hill where emergency X-rays showed he had an air gun pellet lodged beside his ribcage.
Veterinary surgeon Rhian-Mai Jones said: “His body had gone into shock and the pellet had entered his body in his neck and tracked along the line of his jugular before lodging in his chest.”
Because of the precarious position of the pellet it was not safe to perform surgery to remove it immediately, as the risk of haemorrhage from the jugular was too high. Pepsi needed to be stabilised and the entry wound allowed to heal before they could tackle the pellet.
Pepsi responded well to his treatment and returned the following week for an operation to remove the pellet.
Vet practice manager Sarah Solomon said: “This is a very distressing incident but unfortunately it is something that we have seen multiple times.
“Pepsi is incredibly lucky, he is recovering extremely well and we are hopeful he will go on to live a normal life. Sadly the outcome for other cats, who are hurt in this way, has not always been so positive.”
The RSPCA receives around 1,000 calls a year to help animals that are victims of air gun attacks.
Said a spokesman: “It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals. These are deliberate and brutal acts of cruelty.”
Now the animal charity is supporting Cats’ Protection in a call for tighter controls on air weapons.
Added the spokesman: “These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering and it is illegal. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal faces up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”