A cat has been forced to have its hind legs amputated after it was shot six times with an air gun.
Jasper, two, was attacked in Oswaldtwistle and left his lower leg bones shattered.
The RSPCA said pellets entered in his left eye, the roof of his mouth, abdomen, neck and two more pellets entered behind his left knee.
It is thought the timid black moggy, who usually doesn’t venture far from home, may have been at nearby allotments or the school playing field when he was attacked.
RSPCA officers are now appealing for anyone with information to come forward. Nina Small, RSPCA inspector, said: “Poor Jasper, he could only make it through the first cat flap, and when the owners opened the door the cat walked in and fell in his cat basket. He would’ve been in a lot of pain.”
The ‘close range’ attack happened on April 10 and the domestic shorthair returned to his owner between 8pm and 9pm that evening.
Jasper is now recovering after suffering the ‘terrible ordeal’ and will return to the vets at a later date for check-ups. The pellet behind his left eye could not be removed and vets will continue to monitor him closely.
Insp Small said the are supporting calls for tighter controls on air weapons.
She said: “Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenseless victims of air gun attacks.
“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.
“Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as we would like.
“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.
"These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering and it is illegal. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can be up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”
Anyone with information call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.