‘At least six’ cats shot in the eye in York – as pet owner starts campaign to ban air rifles

Dean Cooper and his girlfriend Rachael Hughes with injured cat Sosuke. Photographs: Jack Gevertz
25 May 2016 @ 7.24 pm
| News

At least six cats have been shot in the eye in one area of York, says the shocked owner of one of the injured pets.

Now police are asking for the public’s help to catch the perpetrator before they strike again.

Dean Cooper, 26, is the owner of one of the cats, seven-month-old Sosuke. Sosuke was targeted by someone with an air-powered weapon on Sunday evening (May 22).

Dean had taken his dogs out for a walk and decided to let his cat out. The next day his girlfriend, York St John University student Rachael Hughes, called him in distress.

He said: “My girlfriend rang me up in hysterics because the cat came back and it collapsed in a pool of its own blood.

“We took him straight to the vets but I knew it was an air rifle.”

Now Dean has launched a campaign to ban the sale and use of air and gas powered weapons.

One cat blinded

North Yorkshire Police are investigating two incidents involving cats being shot by an air gun on Sunday – one on Huntington Road and the other on nearby Roche Avenue.

One of the cats has lost an eye as a result of its injuries. Officers are urging people with information to come forward.

But more cats have been targeted than police know about, said Dean, who is an engineer. He believes the perpetrator lives nearby.

He said: “I would say there have been at least six incidents. They’ve all been hit in the eye.

“I’m going to try my best to find out who it is. I wouldn’t be bothered if they were not caught so as long as they stopped.

“It’s affected my girlfriend and she’s a bit distraught because she’s more emotionally attached to him.”

‘One of our neighbours’

‘The vets have managed to save his eye for now’ – Sosuke
‘The vets have managed to save his eye for now’ – Sosuke

Dean now plans to keep his cat indoors. He said:

The original plan was to keep him as an indoor cat but he was getting stressed and becoming mentally unwell.

The vets have managed to save his eye for now but we’ve been charged £600.

The cat doesn’t stray too far and I spoke to my neighbours and they said he only wanders in these local gardens and it sort of makes it worse that you know it’s one of your neighbours.

We’re probably going to have to lock him in the house again because we can’t trust the residents that he won’t get shot again unless they’re caught.

Dean has now launched a Just Giving page to help fund the cost of insurance for attacks on cats.

He has also started a petition calling for a ban on the use of air and gas powered weapons.

Can you help police?

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said that they had received reports of two cats being shot within 24 hours.

She told YorkMix:

Both cats had been shot in close proximity by air rifles. One had lost an eye and the other was waiting receiving treatment.

Both owners live within a few streets of each other in the Huntington area of York.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police. Dial 101 and pass information to the force control room.