The owners of a cat, shot to death with a pellet gun in Marina da Gama, are incensed and heartbroken.
“Whoever did this must know they took a piece of our heart, a part of our home,” said Chantell Esterhuyzen.
Dora was a rescue cat who had been queen of the family home for just over two years.
She was dumped over the SPCA wall as a tiny kitten, too young to be separated from her mother, and when Chantell Esterhuyzen and Wim Kenis went looking for a kitten, it was her who chose them.
She leapt up at Chantell, sank her tiny claws into her clothes and would simply not let go.
The couple took her home the same day, and even as an adult cat, she would suck on their clothes or on blankets for comfort.
Shy of other people, she was adored, stayed close to home and lived what her family described as a “protected” life.
When Dora wasn’t at her bowl on Tuesday morning January 8, the couple panicked. Their search led them to their garden deck, to faint meowing inside.
Realising something was very wrong, Wim tore up planks of the deck to reach Dora, and the couple rushed her to the vet.
There, their worst fears were confirmed: Dora had been shot with a high powered pellet gun. The bullet had entered her side, travelled down the length of her body and exited her back leg. She had crawled under the couple’s deck after being shot.
“The moment I pulled her out, I saw the wound, and realised what had happened,” Wim said. “The shock was unbelievable. I didn’t- I still don’t – understand how somebody could do that to an innocent little animal,” he said.
Later the same day, the couple got the call from their vet to say that Dora had died in the vet’s arms.
The SPCA’s spokesperson Tara McGovern confirmed that there were other cases, not necessarily in Marina da Gama but cases of pellet guns being used.
“We do sadly have a fair amount of cases reported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA regarding the unlawful shooting of animals with pellet guns, that can have fatal consequences to the animals involved,” she said.
“We would encourage all parents to seriously reconsider giving a pellet gun as a gift to a child. A pellet gun is a dangerous item that can not only harm innocent animals, but also potentially injure another child or person – with devastating effects,” Ms McGovern said.
Owners of pets injured by pellet guns, she said, should get their vet to place the removed pellets in a sterile container to be kept as evidence when pressing charges. A written report from the vet along with X-rays and other evidence could strengthen the owner’s case. The owners should hand over an affidavit and any evidence to
the SPCA Inspectorate which would advise SAPS to lay a charge for illegally discharging a firearm in a built up area.
“Dora wasn’t just a cat. She was like my child. I can’t believe this happened to her in a place she
was supposed to be safe,” Chantell said.