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Our cat was shot dead just for the thrill of it; Couple's fury over kitten's death.

Byline: Katie Norman

AKITTEN who died after being shot has prompted concern about air rifle use.

Peter Hunt and his wife Christine Shaw have voiced worry about widespread use of the weapons after their nine-month-old kitten Gordon died from an air rifle wound near their home in St Bride's Wentlooge.

The timid pet had apparently been shot in fields before staggering into the couple's greenhouse.

Peter, 54, an animal biologist, said: "He must have made it back to the greenhouse and died there. I imagine he was in a lot of pain.

"It's upsetting enough when a pet dies but for someone to do this deliberately, presumably for amusement, is just awful. You wonder if they think beyond the immediate pleasure they get from seeing an animal jump in pain."

Gordon was shot days after he began venturing out of the house after recovering from a wild mink attack. He had been kept in confinement for weeks after being bitten.

The shooting has prompted Peter and Christine, 55, a health services researcher, to raise concern about rifle use in the area.

He said: "We have sometimes seen a group of young men pull up in a big 4x4 to start shooting at birds and swans. It is worrying.

"I imagine some people get the rifles off the internet and mail order - the maximum power you can get without a firearms certificate.

"They're shooting recklessly with a dangerous weapon, penetrating bushes and there could be anything behind them."

Gordon's shooting has been reported to South Wales Police.

The RSPCA in Wales launched campaign targeting air rifle abuse last year.

Regional RSPCA Superintendent Martyn Hubbard urged people to report attacks on animals to the charity or police.

He said: "We are appealing to the public to help prevent unnecessary suffering to countless animals by reporting any witnessed incidents to us or the police. This way we can do everything in our power to prosecute the individuals responsible, which may in turn deter others.

"Also, we would appeal to parents not to buy their child an air gun unless they are going to supervise them at all times."

Anyone shooting an animal could face jail and a fine of up to pounds 20,000.


DISMAYED Gordon. Below, Peter Hunt and his wife Christine Shaw with Dennis, another of their cats.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 15, 2008
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