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Cat shot 10 times

An x-ray shows several pellets in Spy’s skull. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Finding the culprit a real problem for police
Worst case of animal cruelty vet has seen in 25-year career

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A Wairarapa vet described the shooting injuries suffered by a Masterton cat as the “worst case of animal cruelty” she had seen in her 25-year career.

Spy was five years old and had been with its’ owner since it was a kitten.

Spyder, or ‘Spy’ for short, was a cat who never much bothered fighting with other cats, “but he was the boss of the house”, according to his owner, who did not wish to be named, for reasons including trauma.

On Monday, she came home from work and found Spy on the porch couch.

He had been gone since Saturday which was not unlike him. He was known to hang out in the paddocks behind her house near Hood Aerodrome where he lived.

As she approached the house, he looked okay, she said.

But as she reached him it became clear something was not right. He had blood on the side of his face.

“I thought what the hell, has he got into a scrap or something?

“Not that I’ve ever seen him fight with cats, the neighbour’s cat would wander past and he would just sit there, you know.

“So, I looked closer and I could actually see a slug in his nose and his lip.

It took me a minute to work out what it was.

“I just rang the vet and took him down there.”

Nicola Haglund, the veterinarian who received Spy at Vet Services Wairarapa described what she saw as the worst case of animal cruelty she had witnessed in her 25-year career.

At first, she found four slug bullets that measured 3mm by 5mm.

“There was one shot to his neck area and one sitting in the throat area, one to his abdomen and one to his hind legs.”

The owner said because of covid-19 she thought “maybe that’s why she couldn’t go with him to be x-rayed.”

“I actually didn’t see him again after that,” she said.

Haglund said an x-ray was done to examine the extent of the damage. She did not expect to find another five slugs in his skull.

“The only reason he had survived at that point is that none of the bullets had penetrated into the brain itself.”

Putting him down was the only real option, Haglund said.

“The chances of surviving as long as he did were slim and if we did nothing, from there was a high risk that he was going to die from an infection.

“When a bullet penetrates into the body it takes bacteria with it, and it takes hair and skin as well.”

Police were notified of the crime by Haglund and the owner.

“With these sorts of cases I think they’re fairly limited on what they can actually do unless someone saw someone do it,” Haglund said.

“It’s very difficult for them to prove because you can’t do ballistics on slug gun pellets, so you can’t find the gun it’s come from.

“We did have another one last year in a rural area, but they found out who it actually was.

“Being rural they had a limited number of neighbours to check with and someone admitted to doing it.

“So that one they managed to follow up and find the culprit.

“Occasionally we get animals that have been shot once or twice with a slug gun, but I’ve never seen anything shot 10 times and manage to make its way home.”

The owner is now waiting for Spy’s body to come back cremated.

“I’m absolutely disgusted that somebody could do that and then just leave the cat to go home to the owner,” Spy’s owner said.

“I think it’s got to be close by for him to be able to come home like that.

“I’m just angry about it really.

“I hope the police are doing something about it, but what can you do is the trouble.”


  1. Why are people so cruel that poor cat must have been in extreme pain I hope the person responsible is caught and dealt with just a pity we cannot inflict the same pain on them to the owner Sorry for your loss

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