Mystery cat attacker uses AIRGUN to terrorise Sussex felines
Residents are calling for police to take action after a spate of cat shootings on a residential street in Haywards Heath, Sussex.
The most recent incident in Acre Close took place on New Year’s Day when 11-year-old cat Frank was shot in his back leg with an air gun.
The damage was extensive with the pellet entering his abdomen.
Frank was rushed to an emergency vet where he required blood transfusions and major surgery at a cost of close to £5,000.
Frank’s owner Gemma Ritchie described the incident as “heartbreaking”, and admits it’s left her feeling worried about whether she should let him out of the house in the future.
Gemma and her partner Adam reported the incident to Sussex Police who sent a PCSO to go door to door.
A spokesperson has said that there are currently no further lines of inquiry and said: “The report is not being linked to any other incidents at this time.”
However, the attack on Frank is just the latest in a string of shootings on the street.
Just two doors down from Gemma’s house, Dan Neve bought two kittens as a surprise birthday present for his wife Donna.
In October 2021, when he was just six months old, Fred was shot in the leg and required emergency medical treatment.
He survived, and was nursed back to health with the pellet still inside him.
However, three months later Fred was shot again and this time the damage was so extensive he had to be put down.
Fred’s sister Dusty then became the shooter’s target. In July 2022 she was shot in the side and needed emergency surgery.
Combined, Fred and Dusty’s operations cost close to £10,000.
Dan and Donna are now so worried about future attacks that they keep Dusty indoors and are trying to move away from the area.
Dan says all three attacks were reported to Sussex Police who responded by handing out leaflets in the neighbourhood.
Charity Cats Protection say incidents like these are all too common.
Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Jade Emery said “We see around 100 media stories every year where cats are attacked with air guns but that's likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.”
They estimate that 90 per cent of all reports take place in England and Wales where air weapons are unlicensed.
They are calling on the Government to introduce mandatory licensing to bring them into line with the rest of the UK.
Meanwhile residents in Acre Close are urging Sussex Police to increase their efforts to track down the shooter and prevent more needless suffering.