A teenager responsible for killing a family’s beloved cat and seriously injuring six others during a shooting spree has been jailed.
Franky Mills, 19, opened fire on the pets with an airgun in parts of Surrey during a 12-day period in March and April last year.
One of the animals, Ruby, had to be put down after being shot in the neck in Cranleigh last March 22. It later had to be excavated for forensic examination.
The owners of another cat, Snoopy, who had a leg amputated after being shot, said their son started struggling at school after taking news of the attack badly.
In a statement read at Guildford Crown Court, they said: “The person who shot our cat has changed our family forever and this is something I will never forgive or forget.”
Another cat, Pebbles, was shot in the eye which had to be removed, while Mills opened fire on another through a window, causing it to fall and injure itself.
Mills, of Long Gore, Farncombe, was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal damage and seven counts of possession of a firearm, Surrey Police said.
He will serve 12 months in jail and 12 months on licence. Mills was also fined £100 and his phone and air weapons were confiscated to be destroyed.
Sergeant Paul Eden, of Surrey Police, said: “Mills’ behaviour is deeply concerning and completely unacceptable and his actions have caused a great deal of distress to a number of families.”
A witness who provided the registration details of Mills’ van will be awarded £2,000 from animal rights charity Peta.
Peta’s director of international programmes, Mimi Bekhechi, said: “Animal abusers are a danger to everyone. They take their issues out on whoever is available to them - human or non-human.”
Jacqui Cuff, advocacy manager at charity Cats Protection, said: “Cats Protection welcomes the sentence given to Franky Mills. His evil and callous actions resulted in the death of one cat and caused horrendous pain and suffering to many others, not to mention the trauma caused to their owners, their families and the wider community.
“We are pleased that the judge gave a significant custodial sentence and hope that it acts as a deterrent to anyone else who would commit acts of cruelty to cats.”
Ms Cuff also called for “much stricter regulation on the purchase, possession and use of air guns” which the charity believes “will help to protect cats and other animals from these shocking attacks”.
“We want to see England and Wales following the example of Scotland and Northern Ireland where it is illegal to own an air gun without a licence and we will continue to press the Government on this whenever we can.”