Appeal for information after cat is shot in Blackburn

Six-year-old Lulu, a Siamese-cross, was found in the pouring rain by a neighbour when they spotted that the cat was distressed and struggling to move. She was discovered on Friday 8 March at about 1.00pm in East Lancashire Road in Blackburn.

Another neighbour who regularly looks after Lulu and her brother Bertie, took Lulu to the vets. Lulu’s owners, Debbie and Henry Ramsey, were called by their neighbour and immediately rushed from work to the vets.

Debbie said: “Lulu was upstairs in the theatre when we arrived at the vet’s. They said they thought she had been hit by a car and perhaps she had broken her pelvis and back legs as she was struggling to move her back end.

The vet wanted to do an x-ray as something about her injuries just didn’t make sense to him. When he came back downstairs 10 minutes later, he was visibly shaken and angry and took us into the room to show us the x-ray. She’d been shot again!”

This is the second time in two years that poor Lulu has been shot by an airgun but sadly this time it was much worse and vets were sadly unable to save her.

Around 18 months ago, Lulu had been shot in the head above her eye. Thankfully the pellet was removed with no long-term damage to the family pet but sadly, this time the pellet had smashed into her spine and left Lulu paralysed and in a lot of pain.

Debbie added: “It was a terrible thing to happen back then. I can’t believe anyone would do that but for it to happen a second time is just beyond belief.”

Debbie and her husband were told that Lulu’s chances of recovery were slim but were referred to a specialist veterinary practice who may be able to offer some hope. Lulu was rushed to the specialist in Chester for a second examination. However, when they examined her it became clear that the chances of recovery were extremely slim.

Henry said: “The damage to her spine was catastrophic. She was paralysed and incontinent and the specialists told us that with the nature of this injury, there was likely to be more and more swelling around the spine in the next few days which would make things worse.”

Debbie and Henry had to make the very difficult decision to put Lulu to sleep and although it is a decision no owner wants to make, for poor Lulu this really was the kindest option.

Debbie said: “We are absolutely devastated and miss her very much. She was also popular with our neighbours. I’m just terrified that whoever did this will kill my other cat as well.”

The couple has another cat called Bertie, a male Siamese, who they have had from a kitten and Lulu became a mother figure to him.

“Since Lulu has gone, Bertie will sit on the edge of the window waiting for her to come home. He’s pining for her, he just keeps meowing at the window. It’s so upsetting.” Debbie continued.

This has now been reported to the RSPCA and the police who continue to look into it. CCTV footage shows that Lulu must have been shot at about 12pm – a full hour before she was found. As the airgun pellet was penetrating her spinal cord and causing paralysis to her hind legs and tail, she wouldn’t have been able to move very far which also narrows down the area where the callous attack must have happened.

Now the RSPCA is appealing to the public for information. If anyone heard a shot, or saw something unusual on Friday 8 March at 12pm in East Lancs Road, please contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

RSPCA Inspector Sophie John, who is investigating, said: “Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenceless victims of air gun attacks.

“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals. These are deliberate and brutal acts of cruelty.

Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as we would like. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal.

“We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.

“These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering and it is illegal. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can be up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.