Ballymena man's cat blasted with shotgun may lose leg
A cat lover hopes police quickly catch a shotgun-wielding thug who blasted his pet in a shocking attack.
Although David O'Loan's cat 'Mr Black and White' had a miracle escape from death after his body was peppered with shotgun pellets he is now praying that the now 'bionic' cat - fitted with a metal plate and pins - will not lose one of his legs and be able to walk again.
The five-year-old male cat returned home badly injured and, when a vet discovered it was blasted by a shotgun, police launched an investigation.
David (36), who lives in the Galgorm Road area of Ballymena, said: "It is a miracle my cat was not killed. We want people to know that this is not acceptable. I am worried that another cat could get shot if this person is not caught. It is a big shock, it is very fortunate that the cat did not die.
"He has shot in his intestine and stomach and at first they thought they would not be able to operate on his leg but the shot has not pierced any organs which is real luck and a piece of shot has worked its way out above his eye.
"They shot through him, mainly the back half and one leg is completely shattered and the vet rebuilt it with a plate inside, and pins and a frame on the outside to hold it altogether and the other leg is badly chipped.
"The vets had asked for my permission to amputate but although they did not have to they still do not know if he will be able to walk again. He was missing for five days and had been shot and it was quite an ordeal for him to get home.
"Another family cat, Blackie, has been keeping a vigil watching over Mr Black and White who can stand on three legs and put slight weight on his other leg and we hope he will be able to walk again. The bone for an inch and a half is essentially missing and there is a plate between the two good sections.
"When I took him to the vet, we could not imagine he had been shot with a shotgun. He was in with the vet about ten days. They are tiny pellets. I thought he had been hit by a car and never imagined anyone would shoot a cat. It is monstrous. It is illegal, the USPCA have told me cats have a right to roam on land.
"Whoever did this needs to be caught. I would like them to be prosecuted because I don't want this to happen again."
David has thanked the owners of Fenaghy Veterinary Clinic in Ballymena Andy and Joan Hillan and staff including vet Ian Finney for helping his cat.
Ian Finney said cats being deliberately shot are thankfully very rare and it was the first case of its kind which he had personally dealt with.
"This is inhumane and illegal. There are multiple pellets. It is a miracle escape from death and luckily somehow the pellets avoided all the vital organs," he said.
Police are treating it as a "cruelty" case and are appealing for information.
A spokesman said: "The cat left its home in the Old Park Avenue area on Wednesday 22 July and when he came home on Monday 27 July, he had injuries to his hind legs. A vet has since confirmed that the injuries have been caused by a shotgun and it may result in the cat losing one of his hind legs."
Constable Finlay is investigating and anyone with information can contact her at the Neighbourhood Policing Team at Ballymena Police Station on 101.