16 May 2022

DISTRESSING CONTENT: Pet cat dies after being shot by airgun in town near Carlow border


Elderly pet cat dies after being shot by airgun in Laois town

Tom was shot by an airgun in Stradbally, Laois recently

A beloved family owned cat in Laois died recently after it was shot by a pellet from an airgun.

Tom was the 15 year old pet of the Fitzgerald family on Church Avenue in Stradbally, who spent thousands in vet bills to try to save his life.

They are all the more upset because they believe he may have been shot by someone living close by, because Tom stayed close to home in his daily routine.

Josephine Fitzgerald said they first noticed that Tom was not himself on January 11.

"We thought he had a cold, but he was sneezing blood. He had an X-ray on January 26 and they saw an air pellet in his neck. It had gone in on one side of his neck and lodged in his shoulder but where it was it couldn’t be removed.

"At 15 years old it was a bit harsh. He doesn’t go far from home.

"Because of his age, Tom developed pneumonia. For two to three weeks we were in the vets every day, Tom was put on drips, we did everything to try to keep him. It just wasn’t fair.

"On the final Saturday we brought him in and the vet said we had spent nearly €2,000. It wasn’t even the money, but we had done all we could do. Once he stopped eating he gave up the battle to live," Josephine said.

Tom came to them first as a stray when they moved to their home 14 years ago.

"He was over a year old then. The cat came with the house basically. I started feeding him and then we found out that the people who lived there before used to feed him and that’s why he kept coming back.

"As he got older he stayed in all morning, went out for a while and came home for lunch, then back in for the night.

"I was in shock after it happened. Even my husband who is not a cat lover was upset. We buried him at home. It’s horrible, I still expect to hear him calling. When we went for a walk he always followed us calling to us."

They have reported the shooting to Stradbally Gardaí.

"They told us that air guns are illegal. They said the rifle would need to be licensed but a lot out there are not licenced.

"We couldn’t give a precise date for the shooting because we only noticed a few days later that he was injured so there is no way of checking CCTV. We also contacted the LSPCA. If something happens again they might look into it more.

"If someone knows anything but they might not want to get someone into trouble, please let the Gardaí know. This is an act of extreme cruelty. It could be a child tomorrow," she said.

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