A CAT was a whisker away from having its leg amputated after an unknown thug shot it with a rifle.
Fortunately for two-year-old Penny, vets at Grove Lodge surgery in Upper Brighton Road, Worthing, were able to repair the broken leg, fixing it in place with a metal plate and screws .
Eimear Humphreys, veterinary surgeon said: “It’s quite shocking to think a little cat has been shot while walking about either by accident or on purpose. Obviously it’s quite a long road to recovery for the young lady as she has a fracture.
“She’s lucky because without WADARS she would have ended up losing her leg.”
When Penny limped through the cat flap of its owners’ home in Fetherston Road, Lancing, the couple assumed it had been hit by a car.
But on closer inspection, vets discovered the animal had a bullet lodged in its leg.
Unable to pay the £1,500 vet’s bills, Penny’s owners were forced to give her up to the Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service (WADARS), who paid for the broken leg to be repaired.
Penny now faces a six-week recovery period.
WADAR’s Billy Elliott said: “Two or three times a year we see cats or squirrels that have been shot with pellets but this was an actual rifle bullet, powerful enough to fracture the cat’s leg.”
Billy said the cat’s owners had contacted the vet to try to get Penny back and set up a payment plan for the treatment, but their street was considered too dangerous for the animal to return.
“If there is someone shooting cat’s we can’t send it back there because it could happen again and next time it could be fatal,” Billy said.
“It’s really hard for us. Obviously we want to do the right thing for the cat and its owners. People don’t realise the heartache, stress and trauma they cause just by taking a potshot at a cat.”
Billy said the vet had wanted to give Penny the best opportunity of leading as full a life as possible which is why they chose to repair the leg rather than amputate it.
“Someone has purposefully aimed a rifle at that cat. We want people to be aware that in that area there is an idiot around with a rifle.”
WADARS will be working with the police to track down the shooter, who has committed a criminal offence.