Fears surface over serial cat shooter in New Plymouth

Panda the kitten recovered from slug gun attack.
Christine Walsh

Panda the kitten recovered from slug gun attack.

A leading Taranaki animal welfare group has grave concerns there may be a serial shooter on the loose taking pot shots at cats in New Plymouth.

Two felines were shot with slug gun pellets in as many weeks, both within a  one kilometre radius of each other.

"We are concerned that this is not an isolated incident and that both of these cats were targeted to be shot and injured," North Taranaki SPCA spokesperson Jackie Poles Smith said.

A cute young kitten approximately 10-weeks-old was taken into the SPCA in mid April, Poles Smith said.

The friendly wee fellow they named Panda for obvious reasons was found on Glenpark Ave and apart from being underweight he had no obvious injuries.

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"However, we took it to the vet where we discovered the kitten had been shot with a slug gun and a pellet was in his neck.

"This is appalling that someone could do this to any animal, and particularly a defenceless, friendly kitten," she said.

The pellet was surgically removed and Panda recovered well, sustaining no significant damage or lasting ill effects.

Under SPCA workers' care and attention Panda thrived and was deemed healthy enough to be placed up for adoption.

This was the second senseless attack on a defenceless cat within as many weeks of each other.  On April 26, Gus the cat was shot with a .177 calibre slug gun pellet. It entered his left leg and passed through his hips, narrowly missing vital organs before it became lodged inside him.

Fortunately Gus also survived his narrow shave with death after the quick reactions of his owner Judie Flower.

"It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to ill treat an animal in this way and the penalty is up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $50,000," North Taranaki Animal Welfare Inspector Maria Carroll said.

If anyone has any information regarding the shooting of either of these cats please contact the SPCA, all information will be taken in confidence.

 - Stuff

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