Rushden family's heartbreak as cat dies after being shot with airgun

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RSPCA officers are investigating

A Rushden family’s pet cat died after being ‘callously’ shot with an airgun.

RSCPA officers are investigating after the cruel incident earlier this month led to the death of four-year-old Belle.

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She was found by her owners on March 5 on the Greenacre estate having been missing for a day.

An X-ray found the pellet in Belle's bodyAn X-ray found the pellet in Belle's body
An X-ray found the pellet in Belle's body

Her worried owner had been desperately searching for her after she didn’t return home as usual on Saturday. Despite extensive searches, Belle was not found until 6.30am the next morning where her owner spotted her laying face down on the floor outside a property some three doors away. She was weak and unresponsive and her worried owner rushed her straight to an emergency animal hospital in Northampton.

Belle was in a critical condition but was stabilised and appeared to pick up. She was brighter so was allowed to go home and rest while her owners continued to monitor her.

However the next day Belle’s condition deteriorated again and she was taken to the family’s local vet where she was given pain relief and an X-ray was carried out. A pellet was discovered in her body which had damaged her oesophagus, stomach and liver.

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Belle was rushed to a specialist vet for emergency surgery to remove the pellet but sadly she did not make it as the shot had caused too much damage. Belle had been with her family from the age of six weeks after she had been found abandoned. She was at first a very nervous cat, but over the years had become more confident and affectionate and her family adored her.

The RSPCA say her family have been left heartbroken by what had happened to their beloved Belle and the fact they will never see her again. But with the grief there is also anger that someone has deliberately targeted their sweet pet.

The family reported the incident to the police and the RSPCA and hope that someone may have information which will help find the culprit responsible.

RSPCA inspector Beckie Harlock, who is investigating the incident, said: “My heart just breaks for Belle’s owners – this is something no pet owner should have to go through.

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“Losing a pet is devastating but knowing someone has deliberately targeted your animal is just so difficult to comprehend.

“This was a callous and cruel attack on a helpless and defenceless animal and I will do all I can to find the person responsible. If anyone in the area with CCTV could please check any footage during the time period of Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, to see if there is anything that might lead us to find who did this, we’d be so grateful.

“Anyone with information should call our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018 quoting incident 01034179 or the police.”

Belle is not the only cat to have been shot in Rushden. In August last year another cat from the same area was targeted with an airgun and also died.

In 2019 fears were also raised about a spate of cat shootings in the town.