A devastated owner has spoken of his shock after his beloved cat had his hind legs amputated after being shot six times with an air gun .
Two-year-old Jasper’s lower leg bones were shattered in the sickening attack in Oswaldtwistle.
The RSPCA said pellets entered into 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.
Father-of-two Mark Harrison, who lives on Thomas Street, said he was devastated when they found out he had been attacked.
He told the Observer: “It was just stunned shock. We weren’t expecting anything like that.
“We thought he might have a simple break of his leg and that was it, but to find so many pellets in him was the last thing I was expecting.
“It’s the way that he’s been shot. It’s not just a pot shot at him. He’s been shot many times at close range. He’s been shot through the bridge of the nose, the mouth, abdomen and his legs. His left rear leg was shattered so that had to come off.
“He’s part of the family. It’s disastrous when you see what’s happened.”
Mark, 50, said Jasper returned home on the evening of Monday, April 10, and was taken to the vets the next day.
He said: “We have had a cat before that was attacked by another cat and we thought that’s what happened.
“We took him to the vet the next day and he said it was possible he had been hit by a car.
“When he went to have x-rays that’s when we found all the pellets everywhere. We couldn’t believe it. He’s slowly getting back to his usual self again, despite what happened. Bits of his personality are coming back out now but he’s on a lot of medication.
“He’s a very timid animal but if you get him on his own he’s very loving, very playful.”
HGV driver Mark, who has seven other cats, said they have not been left out since the attack and believes children could be responsible.
He said: “We think it may have been kids off on holiday so we have kept them in through all the holidays. I try not to think about it. There’s nothing to be gained by thinking about it and I doubt they’re thinking about it. I wouldn’t know what to say to them even if I saw them.”
RSPCA officers are 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 domestic shorthair returned to his owner between 8pm and 9pm following the ‘close range’ attack.
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 defenceless 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 can call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.