A seven-year-old girl is offering ‘all her pocket money’ to help catch a ‘nasty man’ who shot her pet cat in the face with an air rifle.
Lili Alexander, of Ruislip Manor, north west London, was ‘horrified’ when her tabby cat Maximus came home with a pellet embedded in his face, just below his eye.
The seven-year-old primary school pupil has even made posters offering a reward of all her pocket money – which amounts to just over £20 – and has posted them on lampposts around her neighbourhood, saying she wants to catch the ‘nasty man’ who shot her cat.
Her reward poster reads ‘REWARD – All my pocket money! Please held find the nasty man who shot my cat in the face with an air rifle.”
Maximus, who is just one year old, had an operation to remove the air rifle pellet, which is made of lead, last Thursday (Apr 26) at the Arden House Animal Hospital.
Vets removed the pellet and stitched up the moggie’s face, and he left the vet’s wearing a cone to stop him scratching the stitches.
Staff at the vets told Lili and her mum Joanna, 44, that Maximus was ‘very lucky not to lose an eye’.
Speaking last week, she said that she couldn’t believe that someone could be so ‘mean’ to shoot a cat, adding: “I’ve only had Maximus for a year and he’s such a lovely cuddly cat.
“I don’t understand why anyone who want to shoot him – they must be very mean to think they can hurt animals like that.”
Asked what she would like to happen to the person who shot her cat, she said: “I think they should go to prison – that’s what happens to nasty people isn’t it?”
Mum Joanna, a bookbinder, said: “Lili was devastated when she found out that Maximus had been shot – she really couldn’t get her head around why anyone would want to shoot a cat.
“She’s so glad he’s ok, but I don’t think she could ever forgive who did this to her cat.”
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence to cause the unnecessary suffering to a domestic animal – with a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a fine of up to 175 per of weekly income.
In September last year, Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said he was planning on upping the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to five years in jail.
Mr Gove said at the time that the new laws would target those who ‘commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals’, adding: “These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts.
“We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.”
The RSPCA said it welcomed the planned increase in sentencing powers to ‘deter people from abusing and neglecting animals’.
David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, welcomed the move and speaking last September said: “The strength of feeling behind a move to toughen up these sentences is huge.
“At the moment the courts are limited by the law under which the strongest sentence for animal cruelty is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine – but this rarely happens.”
Air rifles, as long as they are not ‘high-powered ones’ can be bought by anyone over the age of 18 and are not included under firearms regulations, but fall under the Violent Crimes Reduction Act 2006.
Owners who fail to prevent someone under the age of 18 using airguns or rifles face fines of up to £1,000.
The police have been informed of the incident.