A devastated family are putting out a warning to other cat lovers after their beloved pet was shot dead and her ear and tail chopped off as sick trophies by the killer.
Mutilated Maggie was discovered dead among bushes in a field behind homes in Walnut Grove, Hemel Hempstead, and close to the town’s hospital site.
Owner Beth Simmonds, 22, said: “It is hard to imagine that people like that exist.
“She wasn’t just our pet, she was part of our family.
“It is heartbreaking, we all feel completely devastated.”
The family, who became worried after Maggie did not return home for dinner as normal on Monday evening last week, have visited nearby homes to warn other cat owners but want to put out a wider alert to householders.
Leighton Buzzard vet Michael Manton, who examined Maggie after her death, said: “Obviously the cat had been shot in the chest by what looks like an airgun. She was shot at point-blank range.
“The awful thing was that after she was dead her ear and her tail were chopped off.
“There was no sign of blood on the tail or ear so that was almost certainly done when she was dead. It is obviously someone with mental problems.”
The Simmonds family have two other cats – including Maggie’s 18-month-old twin brother Hugo. “They were like two peas in a pod,” said Beth. “Her brother is completely lost.
“I’m paranoid to let them out but it is not fair to keep them in.
“Everybody is just in shock. I have put it on Facebook to warn people and see if anyone knows anything.”
Police are investigating and are urging people to report any suspicious behaviour.
Anyone with information can contact them via the police non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference D1/13/1564.