Pet cat Tilly dies after being shot in neck in Lisburn
An animal lover has been left devastated after her cat was shot in the neck twice and died from her injuries.
Michelle Hunt from Lisburn said her 13-year-old cat Tilly came home bleeding from the mouth and gasping for air after she was shot yesterday afternoon near her home in Lady Wallace Brae.
Ms Hunt said: "She doesn't go far from the house because she is so old. She went outside about 3pm and I left the house about 4.30pm.
"My fiance called me and told me I needed to come back straight away because he thought she'd been in a fight.
"She was gargling blood and it was coming out of her nose and mouth. I could see a puncture mark in her neck. Her whole white chest was covered in blood and so were her paws. It was so horrible to see."
The couple rushed Tilly to the vet and a pellet was found wedged in her mouth. They found a wound from another pellet that had fallen out in her throat.
Tilly had to have X-rays and surgery and the vet restarted her heart several times.
Sadly, yesterday at around 4pm, Tilly died and Ms Hunt was heartbroken as she has owned Tilly since she was a kitten.
She said: "I'm totally devastated. It's just the fact that somebody has gone out of their way to purposely target her and shoot her not once but actually shoot her twice. It can't be an accident. It's like somebody has got a pellet gun for Christmas and decided to use my cat as target practice.
"She has been part of my family for 13 years and now the last memory I have of her is her covered in blood."
Ms Hunt is now determined to help catch the people who killed Tilly and make sure that it doesn't happen to anyone else's pet.
"It's an area with lots of families and a child could have been blinded," she said. "They don't realise the damage they do. I will phone the police because this is serious. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.
"I'm going to post out flyers and hand them out where I live, asking for people to come forward with information and pass it on to the police. I want whoever is responsible to be caught and I want them to be punished."
Ms Hunt has been receiving messages of support from across Northern Ireland and said that had been helpful.
"It's brought me some comfort today," she said. "People don't like people who go out of their way to be cruel to animals. A lot of people have been really kind. People have been sharing it on social media because they are disgusted. I just want the people who did this to see the pain and the hurt that they have caused."
Earlier last year, there were reports of other pets being shot with pellet guns in the Newtownards area and in September, a cat was shot in the neck in Scrabo park in Newtownards with a .22 rifle.
Oscar was missing for about a week before he was found severely dehydrated, malnourished and with a gunshot wound to the neck in a neighbour's garden.
He was lucky to survive the incident and the PSNI launched an investigation. Animal welfare group PETA also offered a £2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the incident.
Anyone with any information about the incident involving Tilly should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.