A CAT is fast running out of his proverbial nine lives after surviving being shot for the third time.
RSPCA inspectors are appealing for witnesses to help them track down the thug responsible for shooting Sandy with an air rifle.
The 12-year-old ginger tom had already used up two of his nine lives after surviving being shot in his stomach and rump a few years ago.
Now the much-loved pet faces having a leg amputated after he was hit in the left shoulder by an airgun pellet.
His owner, Joan Mason, of Prestwick Avenue in North Shields, said: “It’s a horrible feeling thinking that someone is targeting your pet deliberately.
“Poor Sandy was caused severe pain and the vet said his leg might have to be amputated.
“It’s terrible to think that someone thinks it is acceptable to shoot a defenceless animal. Causing such agony to a living creature is so cruel.
“He had been let out, and when my son let him in, he was injured. He had been shot in broad daylight.”
Sandy was shot between 2.30pm and 3pm on New Year’s Eve.
He was rushed to a vet afterwards and kept in overnight for treatment.
Mrs Mason, 59, a shop assistant, added: “He had been sitting out at the front of the house. At about 3pm, my son let him back in, but his left leg was paralysed and he kept falling over. His cheeks were swollen too, presumably where he had fallen on his face.
“The vet gave him an x-ray and found a pellet deep in the muscle of his left shoulder. It is close to nerves, so it would do more damage removing it than leaving it there.”
He isn’t the only one of Mrs Mason’s cats to be targeted by thugs either. Another, called Spice, survived being shot about four years ago.
Mrs Mason and her musician husband Vince, also 59, have posted leaflets through their neighbours’ doors asking for information on the latest shooting.
RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick said: “Having your pet shot is every owner’s worst nightmare, but for it to happen three times is simply horrific.
“Poor Sandy is incredibly lucky to have survived. These pellets may be tiny but can do so much internal damage, and perhaps people who shoot animals do not realise the suffering they are causing.
“Anyone found guilty of cruelty to an animal faces up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of £20,000.”
Anyone with information about Sandy’s shooting can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty hotline on 0300 123 4999.