Bradenham resident shot an ex-neighbour’s pet because it was chasing birds in his garden, court hears

A retired builder shot a former neighbour's pet with an air rifle after 'losing control' because the cat was chasing birds in his garden, a court has heard.

Eric Reeves, 68, of Bradenham Hall Cottages, Bradenham, near Dereham, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a ginger and white cat at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court this afternoon.

Jonathan Eales, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court Reeve's ex-neighbour Nicholas Townley acquired the five-month-old cat, named Hartley, in July and that Reeves shot the pet on August 8.

Mr Eales said that after the shooting, the cat returned to Mr Townley's home and was walking very slowly.

He said: 'Mr Townley examined the cat and found bleeding coming from his right-hand side and when he tried to clean the wound the cat was sick.

'Mr Townley took the cat to see a vet who told him the cat had a puncture wound which could have been caused by a fall or by an air gun pellet. As Mr Townley didn't think it was a pellet and the cat was given antibiotics.'

But at 6am the following morning Mr Townley found the cat in distress and his pet died 45 minutes later on arrival at the veterinary surgery.

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An X-ray later revealed the air gun pellet had punctured the cat's intestine.

After returning home with the cat's body, Reeves visited Mr Townley and admitted shooting the animal.

Magistrates were told Mr Townley then asked Mr Reeves why he shot his cat to which Reeves explained he had trouble with feral cats.

Mr Eales continued: 'The RSPCA were then informed and during interview, the defendant explained he feeds wild birds that come to his garden and after seeing a cat chasing the birds, he just lost it and didn't realise it was his neighbour's cat.'

In mitigation, Ian Graham, representing Reeves, said: 'He accepts he had the air rifle, that he fired the shot and that only he was responsible for the animal's death.

'He has shown a lot of remorse and is horrified by the pain the cat suffered. He is a bird lover and likes to spend his money on bird feed. He also used to have a cat himself.

'He has no bad attitude towards animals or cats and offered to pay for the vet bills but that offer was rejected.'

Magistrates ordered Reeves to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and told him to pay �400 in court costs.

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