Animal charity offers reward for information after Manuden cat is shot dead at point blank range

Stella the cat, who was shot dead in Manuden

Stella the cat, who was shot dead in Manuden - Credit: Archant

An animal rights charity has offered a reward of £1,000 to find the person responsible for shooting dead a family’s cat from point blank range in Manuden.

Owners Melvyn Rogers, 42 and wife Emma, 39, said they last saw their 10-year-old white Persian female cat, named Stella, on Sunday, August 14 at around 4pm when she slipped out of the back gate.

The family searched extensively around the village until the early hours of Tuesday before putting up posters and appealing on Facebook for information about their pet.

The couple, who have two children, Vincent, five, and Jasmine, four, then learned their pet’s body had been discovered on Monday morning, after the person who found the cat had seen the Facebook appeal.

Stella had been found in the grounds of a house, only a few hundred yards from their home, having been shot twice in the neck from point blank range by what is believed to be an air rifle.

PETA UK (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

The organisation warned that animal abusers are a serious threat to the whole community and their behaviour is likely to escalate unless they are stopped.

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Mr Rogers said: “It’s very, very sad. Stella was a house cat and always stayed within our home or the garden. She just slipped out of the back gate while my wife was bringing in the shopping.

“She was seen at the Yew Tree pub between 10pm and 11.30pm on Sunday and my wife and I searched the village from end to end to try to find her.

“We began to start thinking the worst when we couldn’t find her. We thought perhaps that she had been run over but this is sickening. You have to wonder about what is going through people’s heads.”

Mr Rogers said it was only when the couple went to bury Stella that they realised she had been shot.

He said: “Emily decided to brush her down before we buried her but as she did that, she noticed the blood around the collar and then saw the wounds.

Stella was taken to Bishop’s Stortford Veterinary Hospital, where it was confirmed she had been shot twice.

Mr Rogers added: “We had to have a very difficult conversation with our children about what happened to Stella.

“People in the village are distraught, a lot of people have pets around here and it’s a close-knit community. Everyone has been very supportive though and I would urge anyone with any information to go to the police.”

Elisa Allen, PETA foundation director, said: “It’s imperative that any community faced with a cruel and callous act such as this takes measures to find the culprit and bring him or her to justice.

“Animal abusers are a danger to everyone – they take their issues out on whoever is available to them, human or non-human – and must be caught before they act again.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.