, MELBOURNE, Sep 22 – An Australian cat named Smokey survived 13 shots to the head from an air rifle and then found his way home after what police on Tuesday called a "shocking" act of animal cruelty.
The nine-year-old moggy turned up on his owners’ doorstep bleeding from his head last week, three days after he went missing from the family home in Maryborough, central Victoria.
A medical examination revealed 13 pellets lodged in his head and face. Sergeant Craig Pearse said it was remarkable Smokey had managed to get home after his ordeal.
"This is just a shocking incident where someone either working alone or in a group has shown no regard for animal life and left Smokey for dead," Pearse said.
The distressed feline had to be heavily sedated while 11 of the pellets were removed, he said, adding that Smokey was expected to recover.
Animal welfare advocate Hugh Wirth said the incident was "utterly disgraceful", and that Smokey’s tormentors deserved jail.
"Almost certainly these will be young males around about the age of 18 to 20 who have done this," said Wirth, Victoria state’s president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"It’s a pattern that we see throughout Australia and there’s only one way to deal with it — and that’s jail."