A BELOVED pet cat was shot with an air rifle before being put down.

A probe has been launched after Doris, who was shot in Benfleet, by officers at the RSPCA.

The charity is appealing for information.

Doris' distraught owners found her collapsed in their garden near Woodside Park.

They rushed her to a vet where an x-ray revealed she had been shot with an air rifle and that the pellet was lodged in her spine.

They then had to make the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep as nothing more could be done to help her.

Her devastated owners are now concerned for their remaining cats and said they have also been made aware of an incident of foxes which were shot and found in the area.


Inspector Caroline Richardson, who is investigating the incident, said: “It is heart-breaking to hear what happened to poor Doris and my thoughts are with her owners who are devastated by their loss.

"This was a callous and cruel attack on a helpless and defenceless animal which I am now investigating.

"I’m urging anyone with information to call the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

A spokesman from the RSPCA, added: "The RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate such cases every year and sadly cats and wildlife are usually the animals most often affected.

"We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons.

"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 face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act."