A PET owner has warned other animal lovers to be vigilant after callous thugs shot one of her cats with an air rifle.
Pepsi, a tabby white 18-month-old female cat, was shot through one of her front legs in an attack near her home in Butts Bridge last week.
The wounded feline was taken to the vets, where an X-ray revealed the pellet lodged in her limb and now has to spend around eight weeks in a small cage at her home to allow the injury to rest and heal.
Pepsi’s owner Stacey Barwick, of Bow Road, is now urging other pet owners to be very careful when letting their four-legged friends wander outside in the area.
Stacey, 34, said: “She came in limping and when I picked her up to look there was blood all over her leg.
“When the vet said she had been shot with an air gun I was just devastated, I couldn’t believe it.
“It shattered her ulna so she must have been in agony. She’s now on strong painkillers and calming tablets, and I just hope she’s going to make a full recovery.
“She’s now got to stay in a little cage except from stretching her legs, which isn’t fair at all, but they couldn’t set the leg or try and remove the pellet in case it made the injuries worse.
“She’s such a friendly little cat, all the kids and neighbours round here love her, but there’s obviously someone who doesn’t care about that and other animal owners should just be careful.”
Stacey says Pepsi’s injury has had a devastating effect on her family, with partner Paul Stead, 27, their two children Amelia, seven, and Dylan, 13, cat Jasper and Staffordshire bull terrier Texas all being upset in some way by the incident.
It is not the first time Pepsi has been in the wars as she injured her back legs in a road accident last year.
Stacey said: “Amelia is devastated, she can’t understand why Pepsi’s locked up in a cage and she can’t pick her up or sit with her on her knee.
“Dylan understands what’s happened and he’s angry about it. Jasper and Pepsi are inseparable, he keeps wandering around crying and then going to the cage to look at her.
“They always used to curl up together but can’t at the moment in case it damages her leg.”
Staff at My Pets Vets in Leigh, who treated Pepsi, also condemned the use of air rifles against pets.
Vet Caroline Purnell said: “Owners need to be aware that this is happening in the area.
“I would also like to point out that shooting like this is extremely cruel, and animals do suffer greatly and often have serious injuries if they survive the attack.
“I’ve already put out alerts about this on our Facebook page and website.”