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Cat lovers urged to join demands to extend air gun laws to England and Wales

21 March 2017
Cat lovers urged to join demands to extend air gun laws to England and Wales
Cat lovers are being urged to back a major campaign for a change in the law on air guns to bring England and Wales in line with the rest of the UK.
Cats Protection says a lack of UK-wide regulation means the vast majority - 90% - of air gun attacks[i] on cats happen in England and Wales.
Both Northern Ireland and Scotland already have air gun licencing laws in place, and the charity has now launched an online petition to urge the government to bring in regulation across the rest of the UK.
Cats Protection’s Advocacy Manager Jacqui Cuff said: “Cats and other animals in England and Wales are hugely vulnerable to being the victim of an air gun attack because there is nothing to stop air guns falling into the wrong hands. 
“The reality of an air gun attack on a cat is horrific, and around half die as a result of their injuries. Those that survive will endure considerable suffering and may be left with life-long disabilities. Owners can face a great deal of upset and huge vet bills and whole communities can be left deeply worried about attacks of this kind in their neighbourhood.
“Scotland and Northern Ireland have already taken action to address this, having brought in the strict regulations to regulate who can own such deadly weapons. Cats Protection believes it’s time the rest of the UK caught up and cat owners and communities in England and Wales can be afforded with the same peace of mind.”
In 2016, 202 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. Crucially 90% of these attacks were in England and Wales.
Northern Ireland led the way in restricting gun ownership and since 2004, anyone who buys, owns or uses an air weapon in Northern Ireland is now required to have a licence. Scotland adopted similar legislation earlier in 2017.
Cats which have been victims of air gun attacks in England and Wales over the past year include:
Lily: In April last year, Cats Protection was contacted about Lily, a cat from York that was shot in the stomach with an air gun. The bullet perforated her bowels and she underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage. Despite suffering from severe peritonitis she came through and is now well on the road to recovery.
Chaos: Chaos was shot between her eyes in September 2016 in Neath, South Wales. The pellet narrowly missed her brain and lodged in the muscle between her spine and gullet, where it remains. It did, however, shatter the bones in her nose making her unable to breathe except through her mouth which, of course, prevented her from eating or drinking. She was fitted with a feeding tube which has now been removed and she is able to eat and drink again. She has only been outside once since her recovery and was frightened by the lights outside the house which tends to support the vet’s theory that a light was shone in her face to temporarily blind her before being shot.
Cats Protection has now launched an online petition to encourage cat owners to get behind its campaign and put pressure on the government to update the law on air guns in England and Wales.
To watch Cats Protection’s campaign video and sign the petition, or find out more about the campaign, please visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition
[i] Air gun attacks reported in press and monitored by Cats Protection
For more information, an interview, or photos of any of the cats mentioned, please contact Michaela at Adastra Media on michaela@adastramedia.co.uk or 07740 305918.
Notes to Editors: 
  1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps 500 cats a day – or around 200,000 cats each year - through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.
  2. Number of air gun attacks based on press reports monitored by Cats Protection’s Advocacy department.
  3. More information about Cats Protection’s True Cost of Kittens campaign can be found at www.cats.org.uk/truecostofkittens
  4. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  5. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  6. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk