RSPCA Appeals for Information After Kitten is Killed by air gun in Shropshire

Marley was found dead in the garden under the family’s trampoline

A family from Telford have spoken about the loss of their much-loved pet who died after being cruelly shot with an air gun.

The RSPCA is investigating the death of ten-month-old Marley, who was found in the garden of his home in Ardern Avenue, Dawley, on 23 October.

The home-loving kitten never went out for long and had last been seen the previous morning, but when he failed to come back as usual, his family were concerned that something was wrong.

Owner, Margo Ayres, said: “We’d had Marley since he was five months old. He was quite an anxious character, so he would normally go out and come straight back in again. When he didn’t re-appear for the rest of the day I started to fear that something might have happened.

“My ten-year-old son went into the garden the next morning and saw him lying under the trampoline. At first we thought he was asleep, but when we got up closer we realised he was dead.

“He was a massive part of our family and I struggle to understand how anyone could even begin to think of harming an animal in this way.”

Mrs Ayres noticed a thick patch of blood on Marley’s fur, and on closer inspection, a pellet hole was found underneath. An X-ray taken by a vet later confirmed that the kitten had sadly been shot.

Despite lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions keeping people at home for long periods of time, more than 180 incidents of animals being targeted with air weapons have been reported to the RSPCA so far this year.

Cats and wildlife are normally most susceptible to these horrific attacks because they are out in the open with less protection.

RSPCA inspector Claire Davey is investigating the incident, which has also been reported to the police. She said: “These senseless shootings leave families like Margo’s absolutely devastated, and we would urge anyone who knows anything about what happened to Marley to get in touch.

“We’re continuing to call for stricter regulations around owning an airgun, basic safety training for owners and a thorough explanation of the law – including outlining our legal obligations towards animals. All of these measures could help protect animals like Marley from such callous attacks in the future.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018.

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