Horrific: Little pet kitten loses a leg after it was stolen and thrown out of moving car
A mother says her four young children are devastated after their pet kitten was stolen and thrown from a moving vehicle, causing it to lose a leg.
Four-month-old Coffee sustained a broken femur and pelvis and yesterday had to undergo an operation to remove a hind leg which was badly damaged.
The kitten went missing from home before being found clinging to life in a hedge two miles away a short time later.
Owner Aideen Hynes said she believed it had been stolen and later thrown from a vehicle given the distance the animal had travelled.
Another of the family's cats, Chutney, was found dead the previous day.
Mrs Hynes said she feared a gang was stealing animals in order to blood fighting dogs.
"Coffee went out on Saturday afternoon, but she never goes near the road," she told the Belfast Telegraph.
"When she didn't come back we then went to look for her.
"We walked up and down the road looking."
A short time later a relative posted on Facebook they had found a kitten close to their home.
"He found the kitten outside his house," Mrs Hynes said.
"He thought it was dead.
"There were no marks on it, nothing to show it had been hit."
Mrs Hynes rushed the kitten to a vet who said its injuries were consistent with being thrown from a vehicle.
So far, the medical bill for Coffee's treatment is set to cost the Castlewellan-based family more than £300.
The mother-of-four said her children, aged six to 13, were distraught by the kitten's injuries.
"The girls are heartbroken," she said.
"They have a little doll's cot she sleeps in at night. They are very close.
"We're an animal-loving home."
Mrs Hynes said she had recently seen gangs of men with dogs late at night in the area and fears they may be hunting.
She hit out at those she believes were responsible for attacking her animals.
"They are pure scum," she said.
"There is no need to hurt any animal, it's evil.
"If people can do that to an animal, what can they do to a human?" The family rescued Coffee after finding her covered in petrol at a filling station.
They had been at the shop to get coffee at the time.
Last week, in nearby Newcastle, corrosive liquid was poured over a small dog.
Fergie, also a family pet, was left with horrendous burns after he was the subject of an animal cruelty attack some time last Thursday evening.
Earlier this year hundreds of people descended on Belfast city centre for a public rally against animal cruelty.
A new support group – Northern Ireland Says No To Animal Cruelty – is demanding a dedicated PSNI unit to tackle crimes against animals. The action came after one of the major recent cases of animal cruelty heard in the courts saw three members of an east Belfast family walk free.
Alliance MP Naomi Long has backed calls for tougher sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty offences.