A pet cat had to have its leg amputated at the hip after being shot with what is believed to have been an air rifle.
The cat, called Gizmo, was shot sometime last week near his home in Crossgar, Co Down.
Owner Ann Cairns said the three-year-old dragged himself home last Thursday. She knew immediately he was hurt, but he ran off and did not return until the following day.
Ms Cairns, who uses a wheelchair and lives with her teenage daughter, took Gizmo to a vet, who confirmed he had been shot and that all the bones in his right rear leg were shattered. The vet decided it was best to remove the entire leg and the operation was carried out at the beginning of the week.
Ms Cairns, who rescues cats, revealed she had lost two others since moving to the area and is now suspicious that someone is deliberately harming animals in the neighbourhood.
She explained that Gizmo was recovering but keeps forgetting about his missing leg. The animal lover also said she was horrified that anyone could be so cruel.
"Gizmo's up on the sofa now getting cuddles," she added.
Friends of Ms Cairns expressed their disgust on her Facebook page last night.
Sharon Bell wrote: "Heartbreaking to see this. May God forgive the scum who did this. Lots of healing sent to Gizmo and you. Poor wee pet."