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Cat charity renews calls for air gun licensing after more shootings in Bridgend

The UK’s leading feline welfare charity is renewing its call for air gun licensing in England and Wales after caring for two cats that needed surgery to remove air gun pellets.

In the last two months Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre took in two stray cats from different areas of Wales who had both sadly been shot.

Jewels, a one-year-old black-and-white female, and five-year-old male Mr Bojangles were both un-neutered. They are both very sweet-natured despite their ordeal.

These attacks have prompted Cats Protection to renew calls for air guns to be licensed in England and Wales, in line with existing legislation in other parts of the UK.

The air gun pellet removed. Credit: Cats Protection Bridgend

Cats Protection’s Bridgend Adoption Centre Manager, Sue Dobbs, said: “Mr Bojangles was handed in to us after being taken to a vet in Pontypool as a rather bedraggled stray.

“Jewel was found in a quarry in Pontypridd. She was in better condition so we think she must have had an owner but sadly were unable to trace them and we have no idea how she came to be there.

“On examination, it was discovered that both cats had air gun pellets embedded under their skin. They each underwent surgery and thankfully made full recoveries. Sadly this isn’t the always the case and many cats either don’t survive or suffer horrific injuries.”

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Many people are shocked to learn that these weapons can be owned by anyone aged over 18 in England and Wales without licence. This is in contrast with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both have sensible, modern laws in place that require licensing of air guns. In 2017, 164 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun and this figure is only the tip of the iceberg. It cannot just be coincidence that over 85% of these reported attacks on cats were in England and Wales.

“Sadly, we see many instances where cats are shot by air guns, often sustaining life-changing or fatal injuries. These lethal weapons are far too easily accessed. Modern legislation on air gun ownership is now well overdue in England and Wales.”

Cats Protection’s petition calling on the Government to introduce the licensing of air guns in England and Wales has now gathered over 115,000 signatures. The Government launched a review into air weapons legislation in October 2017, including a consultation which concluded on 6 February 2018, but they have still not reported their next steps.

To sign the petition, visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition