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Shock as cat shot dead with BB gun and second pet injured

Southern Daily Echo logo Southern Daily Echo 10/12/2022 Chris Yandell

One-year-old Church had to be put down after being shot with a BB gun.Picture: Melissa Griffiths and Christopher Shank (Image: Melissa and Christopher Shank) © Provided by Southern Daily Echo One-year-old Church had to be put down after being shot with a BB gun.Picture: Melissa Griffiths and Christopher Shank (Image: Melissa and Christopher Shank)

A HEARTBROKEN Southampton couple are desperate to alert other pet owners after two cats in the same neighbourhood were shot with a BB gun.

One of the cats had to be put down after a pellet lodged near her spine, leaving her in terrible pain and unable to walk.

One-year-old Church was owned by Christopher Shank and Melissa Griffiths, who have been left "cataclysmically distraught" by her death.

Daily Echo: Church, right, with her brother Frank © Provided by Southern Daily Echo Daily Echo: Church, right, with her brother Frank Church, right, with her brother Frank (Image: Melissa Griffiths and Christopher Shank)

The pair, of Wodehouse Road, Sholing, went outside on Tuesday evening to call her in and found her badly injured.

They have spoken out in the hope of alerting fellow cat lovers and encouraging anyone with information to contact the police.

Christopher, 31, said: "Church was hiding in a wooden pallet next to the shed and making a terrible noise.

"We took her into the house and put her in the place where she liked to be. She tried to move but both her back legs were completely lame."

Church was rushed to an out-of-hours vet amid fears she had been hit by a car.

Daily Echo: One-year-old Church had to be put down after she was shot with a BB gun. © Provided by Southern Daily Echo Daily Echo: One-year-old Church had to be put down after she was shot with a BB gun. One-year-old Church had to be put down after she was shot with a BB gun. (Image: Melissa Griffiths and Christopher Shank)

Christopher said: "She was shaking like a leaf, very cold and continuing to make terrible sounds.

"An hour later the vet back came out and said an X-ray showed there was a pellet in her side, very close to her spine."

Church was given pain relief and spent a quiet night. She was taken to their own vet the next day, but it quickly became clear she was too badly injured to be saved.

"We gave our little cat her favourite snack and said goodbye."

Christopher said Church's brother Frank was confused and distressed, adding: "Cats are very susceptible to the mood of their owners and Melissa and I are cataclysmically distraught.

Daily Echo: Church, right, with her brother Frank © Provided by Southern Daily Echo Daily Echo: Church, right, with her brother Frank Church, right, with her brother Frank (Image: Melissa Griffiths and Christopher Shank)

"My message to other pet owners is make the most of the time you have with your animals because you never know when something might happen.

"Church was a cat who brought joy and was loved by everyone. All our neighbours are heartbroken."

Melissa said: "Another cat was shot on the same evening but fortunately survived. I want to raise awareness so people can protect their pets."

Posting on social media another family member added: "If you know who did this do not protect them. They are not worthy of the oxygen they breathe."

A police spokesperson urged anyone with information to call officers on 101, quoting reference number 44220494311.

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