Pet charity Cats Protection is calling for tougher air gun laws after what it calls an ‘alarming rise’ of fatal air gun attacks on cats.
A survey of 1,000 vets carried out by leading feline welfare charity Cats Protection shows that many more cats are killed in air gun attacks than 20 years ago, prompting a call on governments in England and Wales to make it a criminal offence to own an air gun without a licence or permit.
The findings are particularly concerning, given a leading criminologist has warned that some people who shoot cats could go on to commit similar crimes against humans.
According to Cats Protection’s survey, almost half of vets questioned had treated cats which had been the victim of attacks by air-powered weapons in the last year, with nearly half of these shootings proving fatal .
Cats Protection undertook this research to mark the 20-year anniversary since it first investigated the problem of air gun attacks.
In 1996, 74 per cent of vets had treated cats for air weapon attacks and just 11 per cent of these feline victims died. Although attacks seem to be less common now, they are more likely to be fatal.
The rise in fatal attacks suggests that more powerful air guns are being used. Injuries to the head and body are most common, with many cats left blind or partially sighted.
Cats Protection’s advocacy manager Jacqui Cuff said, “The sheer volume of instances where cats are injured and killed by air gun attacks is very concerning.
“We are calling for much stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns, as we strongly believe this will help to protect cats and other animals from these shocking attacks, and avoid air guns falling into the wrong hands.
“We want to see England and Wales following the example of Scotland, where from next year it will be illegal to own an air gun without a licence.
“The statistics show that fewer cats are now surviving air gun attacks than they were back in 1996. It is disconcerting that only a small percentage of the general public (24 per cent) would report these incidents to the police, and that 53 per cent said they would do nothing. This could be due to a lack of confidence that the perpetrator will be found. 78 per cent of people who reported an air gun attack on their cat said the culprit was never caught.”
More than three-quarters of vets said that air gun injuries were more frequently inflicted on cats than other types of animal.If any owners have lost their cat to an air gun attack in the last six months send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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