OWNERS who found their cat collapsed on the patio after being shot twice with a pellet gun are appealing for help to trace his attackers.

Black and white cat Nev was found crying in pain outside his home in Park Road, Henstridge, with a wound on his leg.

His owners rushed him to the vets where the pellet was removed from the four-year-old feline’s leg.

An x-ray then revealed that the cat had been shot previously and the pellet was still embedded in his leg.

The RSPCA was contacted and inspector Ken Snook is now investigating the incident.

“This poor cat has been cruelly shot with an air gun and would have been in a considerable amount of pain," said Ken.

"It was a shock for the owners to find Nev had been shot not once but twice.

"We’re now appealing for information, and ask that anyone who may have seen or heard anything on Friday, June 7, between 7am and 3.30pm, get in touch with us on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

The cat is now recovering after his vet treatment and is back at home with his owners, who did not wish to be named.

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WOUND: A second pellet was found embedded in Nev's leg

Ken added: “Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenseless 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."

For more information on the RSPCA, visit www.rspca.org.uk.