Derry cat blinded after being shot in 'cruel' attack
The Co Londonderry owner of a cat left blinded after being shot in the face has said she's horrified by the vindictive cruelty.
The pedigree Maine Coon called Leo was on owner Maureen Newman's property, on Halfgayne Road in Maghera, and climbing along the garage roof, when he was blasted.
The majestic two-year-old feline staggered to safety behind the garage wall, trapping himself.
The cat, whose full name is 'Leo Aston Martin Teca Newman', spent several hours quivering in pain as Maureen (56) sought to entice him out.
She said: "It was about 8.15pm on the Saturday night and I had just fed the cat a few Dreamies treats. We were outside at the aviary, me with the cat and my King Charles Spaniel, Charlie.
"The cat walked along the wall and onto the garage. All of sudden there was an unmerciful bang - we knew it was a gunshot. The dog was terrified and ran into the house and the next thing I saw Leo, he had been shot."
Mrs Newman said she spent more than three hours trying to reach him behind the garage before rushing him to Glenshane Vets in the town, after midnight.
Leo underwent an eight-hour operation to save his life but lost his right eye and part of his paw. His left ear was also damaged.
"Leo stayed with the vet over the weekend but is now home with a load of painkillers," said Mrs Newman. "I am nursing him but the poor thing is very nervous, he's very, very shaken."
Mrs Newman, who has lived in the area her whole life, said she does not believe the cat was shot accidentally.
Daniel Barclay, from Northern Ireland Says No to Animal Cruelty, said stiffer sentences are needed for animal cruelty.
"Whoever did this should not be walking the streets," he said. "They do these things because they can, because there is something inherently wrong with them. The police investigate and then bring it to the courts, but time and time again we are let down by a light sentence.
Police in Maghera are investigating.