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to ask if it's actually illegal to shoot someone's cat

(37 Posts)
blackcats73 Fri 03-May-13 23:36:34

Obviously it's wrong, cruel and disgusting. However,a friend's cat has been shot with an air gun. It cost the family five hundred pounds to fix and the cat may be partially paralysed in the face. Apparently the people suspected of the shooting bragged that they'll shot any cat in their garden.

The police aren't interested apparently, so they're calling the rspca. Are the police correct? Is there no crime committed or should they nag then to take it seriously.

SimLondon Fri 03-May-13 23:45:20

Yes - the RSPCA will push the cps to prosecute and there could be stiff penalties.

crazynanna Fri 03-May-13 23:53:45

It says here under the Criminal Damage Act

musicmadness Fri 03-May-13 23:58:41

I'm fairly sure domestic cats are protected animals and therefore it's illegal. I think feral/wild cats are a grey area though as I think they can be classed as vermin (mentioned here).

If the people who shot it argued that they believed it was feral and it was a reasonable assumption (no collar, rural area etc) I'm not sure the CPS would try to prosecute.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 04-May-13 00:04:22

The RSPCA have got more important things to do than worry about a cat who is being taken care of surely? Shouldn't they be spending their limited time and resources thinking about animals who actually need them instead of ones that have loving owners?

Alad Sat 04-May-13 00:13:56

Think it's an offence under the wildlife act, possibly animal cruelty and maybe firearms. Pressurise the police to act. They will just want to keep crime figures low.

caroldecker Sat 04-May-13 00:27:34

The RSPCA spend a fortune prosecuting people, and when it fails often billing the taxpayer. may be biased, more reasonable - the Telegraph, the spectator , Hansard

Alad Sat 04-May-13 00:29:43

Think the relevant act is animal welfare act 2006. Potential sentence £20,000 and up to 6 months custody. May need to do a private prosecution. Firearms makes it serious.

blackcats73 Sat 04-May-13 08:41:49

Thanks for all of your responses. They live in a town and the cat had a collar. I'd be nagging the police, surely the sorry of person that shoots a neighbour.s cat for
fun may be into other criminal activity?

limitedperiodonly Sat 04-May-13 08:50:13

Arf at the idea that the RSPCA have 'limited time and resources'.

I agree OP that people who take pot shots at pets may well be anti-social towards humans too.

WhatKindofFool Sat 04-May-13 08:53:49

Surely, it is illegal to be cruel to animals??? I am amazed that the police are not interested.

missmarplestmarymead Sat 04-May-13 09:11:02

I think I would report it to the RSPCA , to the local Cats' protection league and to the police. They may do nothing but at least there will be a report on record if they ever indulge in this behaviour again.

People who enjoy inflicting cruelty on animals are very often the type of people who enjoy inflicting cruelty on vulnerable people such as the very young and the very old. We read of dreadful cases, where the criminal has often been purposefully cruel to animals as a child before progressing to humans. A careful and official eye should be kept on them.

But yes, do report it.

Buzzardbird Sat 04-May-13 09:13:45

Is it legal to have an air gun then?

Corygal Sat 04-May-13 09:21:05

Yes but you need a licence. What is also illegal is firing an airgun in a built up area. This is the charge that the police successfully brought against our neighbour's AS son, who shot our cat for laffs.

He was convicted, the parents had to cough for the vet's bills, and local parents of small children heaved a sigh of relief. An airgun can take out an eye (human or animal) quite easily.

Earthworms Sat 04-May-13 09:31:33

You don't need a licence for air guns in the uk, unless they are high powered. ( over 15 ft/ lbs)

But is illegal to use them within 50m of a public highway - ie any road, the police cold prosecute for all sorts of firearms offences in your case op.

Earthworms Sat 04-May-13 09:35:04

You also need permission from the landowner otherwise it's armed trespass. And it's effectively illegal to shoot at anything other than vermin ( eg rats, foxes etc) unless you are shooting game - with permission of course, otherwise that's poaching.

TerrysAllGold Sat 04-May-13 09:38:30

Yes it's illegal. It's a breach of the Animal Welfare Act and the Criminal Damage Act. If I were your friend I'd be returning to the police station and reminding them of that.

Buzzardbird Sat 04-May-13 09:39:14

Well, you would think the police would have at least checked he had a license? They came down on my poor old dad who had memory issues before he died when his license had expired and really had a go at him and yet some shit killing animals isn't even visited?

I'd be fuming!

ErrorError Sat 04-May-13 10:37:10

Definitely illegal. My cat was shot and killed in February. Police can't catch the culprits because there were no witnesses in my case. If you know who is responsible, please make sure the police fully investigate. My only hope was that the bastards responsible for killing my cat, would eventually get caught on some other grounds (like trespassing with the rifle or obtaining it illegally), and then hopefully admit to the shooting.

There are some really vile people in this world, it makes me sick with rage. I hope your friend's cat will be okay.

Pigsmummy Sat 04-May-13 10:48:17

Did the police check that the gun is being kept correctly and is licensed?

Kneebeefjerky Sat 04-May-13 10:55:27

The RSPCA are crap. Mine was shot dead as one of a spate in our neighbourhood and we phoned them and told them, they told us they would come round and take the corpse to investigate.

We hung onto the rigid corpse for 3 days waiting for them to come. After 3 days we couldn't keep any longer. They never came. They never came out to the other cases nearby either.

The adverts with the little fluffy kitten on them begging you for money - well that money basically goes towards a huge government lobbying agency wining and dining MPs. Mainly on farming issues. Only a tiny amount goes to the underfunded, overworked inspectorate arm who deal with things like this. And almost nothing goes to the shelters.

If you want to give money to the RSPCA give to your local shelter directly because then it will actually directly help animals. If it goes to the central RSPCA it is more likely to be spent on a lavish dinner for an agricultural Eurocrat.

cakebaby Sat 04-May-13 10:58:14

You DO NOT need a license for an air weapon unless its a high velocity one, which would be unusual frankly. Any idiot can buy and legally hold one. Criminal damage and cruelty to animals act apply here. There could be ancillary firearms offences but if proven would have little consequence. Stick with cruelty offence and the RSPCA may have more time & cash to prosecute.

blackcats73 Sat 04-May-13 12:41:04

Thanks again everyone, I'll let her know x

LouiseSmith Sat 04-May-13 13:35:15

If that was my cat, I would get an air gun go round there and shoot them in the nuts.

I all seriousness I would approach your local paper, telling them about the culprits and the polices reluctance to do anything. Also warning other cat owners.

ErrorError Sat 04-May-13 13:47:33

We didn't involve the RSPCA partly for that reason Knee. Our little cat's body was taken straight to the vet for post mortem (she was a healthy 4 year old and we didn't know cause of death yet.) When the pellet was found the police were informed and had a small piece in the local paper.

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