Belfast Telegraph offers £1,000 reward to find callous thugs who cut off cat's ears
Appeal launched after sickening attack on gentle stray rescued with her two kittens
The Belfast Telegraph is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction and sentencing of the thugs behind an appalling attack on a cat.
Leah, as she has been named by rescuers, had her ears cut off.
The incident in Londonderry has shocked and angered animal lovers. And this newspaper is determined to help catch those responsible.
We are putting up a £1,000 reward for help in tracking down the culprits - and punishing them for their callous actions.
A distraught member of the public noticed that Leah, a black stray that had been hanging around near his home, appeared to have damaged ears.
The sleek black cat and her two adorable kittens were later taken to the Rainbow Rehoming Centre in Derry, where staff, who have named her Leah, have been caring for her.
Despite her horrendous ordeal at the hands of cruel thugs, Leah appears calm and gentle and is happy to allow her kittens to feed and her bloody injuries are now healing amazingly well.
Staff at the centre will continue to care for Leah and her two kittens until she is fully recovered and her kittens are old enough to be away from Leah in a few weeks' time.
Then they hope a loving home can be found for her where she will be able to forget the sickening ordeal she endured.
David Wilson from the USPCA told the Belfast Telegraph that Leah's injuries were appalling.
He said: "This is about as sickening a case of animal cruelty as anyone could imagine.
"The pain the poor cat would have felt after they cut of the first ear would have filled her with fear and unimaginable trauma.
"But whoever did this kept a hold of her and cut her other ear off, that is the appalling thing about it - it was no accident, it was calculated and horrible in the extreme.
"Cats' ears are very important to them, they have an acute sense of hearing, it helps them survive and hunt but they also use their ears for balance.
"Anyone who could inflict this level of pain and injury on an animal is capable of anything."
An appeal has been made for anyone with information about who carried out this cruel act to contact the police.
Mr Wilson also praised the Belfast Telegraph for putting up a reward.
He added: "I commend the Belfast Telegraph for offering a reward and I really hope that this person is caught. The courts take extreme acts of cruelty very seriously now and a first offence can warrant a jail term of up to two years which is no less than what whoever did this should face and I hope it is soon."
There was an angry reaction from people living in the Derry area on social media after the animal centre highlighted the case on its Facebook page.
Among those enraged was Marietta McNulty who wrote: "What's this world coming to, this is awful. Hopefully someone will find a conscience and come forward with information."
Anyone who can help should contact the Belfast Telegraph crime line on 028 9026 4440