Hastings woman whose cat was killed after being shot with an airgun calls for tighter controls

A Hastings woman is backing the RSPCA’s call for airguns to be licenced to protect cats and wildlife from being shot by pellets.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 12:09 pm
Airgun attacks can lead to animals sustaining life-changing injuries. Photo credit to Eddie Mitchell.

The recent article on The Observer website, calling for tougher restrictions on air weapons, brought back bad memories for Hastings woman Sue Winchester whose two year old tabby cat Jess died after being shot in the head with an airgun pellet in Alexandra Park back in 2014.

Sue said: “Jess was a lovely cat and I have never really got over it. It was such a needless way for her to go. There needs to be much tighter controls on airguns. Who is to say the people who shot at my cat would not shoot at young children playing in the park.”

In April last year the RSPCA had to treat a stray black cat in Hastings, named Womble, who had two air gun pellets lodged in her legs.

RSPCA officer Claire Thomas said, at the time: “On average, the RSPCA receives 900 calls a year reporting incidents of animals being shot by air weapons. Poor cats, like Womble, are often targeted along with wild animals and birds.

“That’s why the charity is calling for mandatory licensing of airguns in England and Wales, following the lead of Scotland, where owners and users have been required to have a licence since the beginning of 2017.”

Last week we reported that soaring numbers of cruel animal shootings have prompted new calls for air gun controls from the RSPCA.

The animal charity revealed there were 126 gun attacks on animals in the south east last year with pet cats and pigeons among those most targeted.

In East Sussex alone, there were 13 such cruel shootings. Altogether, there were 767 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales.

The RSPCA’s records also showed that pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings with 258 incidents in 2018 with a rise in incidents during the summer months.

As well as mandatory licensing, the animal charity is also calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem of air guns.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer said: “Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are also potentially extremely dangerous for people.

“Every one of the 258 pet cats and 73 dogs deliberately killed or maimed last year by people using air guns represents a devastated family.”

Earlier this year there were reports of gulls being shot and killed in the West Hill area of Hastings.

Pictured is Oscar, who was injured after being shot with an airgun in Sussex in 2017.