A FAMILY has spoken of their devastation and distress after their two pet kittens were shot in a North Yorkshire town - one fatally.

The cats, who were just seven months old, were shot in Kirkbymoorside on Sunday, November 3.

Owner Judith Dickinson said: “I let our beautiful cats out at 5pm that evening. At 6pm our male cat, Precious, returned with a bit of blood on his shoulder.

"I thought he must have had an altercation whilst out.

“I checked the wound and settled him down for a rest. Our female cat, Pebble, had not returned at 7pm so my husband and son went looking for her with a torch.”

Judith added: “She was lying still under the ledge of the back door, cold and unable to move. She was covered in her own excrement.

“My husband, Jonathan, shouted call the vet quickly and fortunately Grace Lane vets responded immediately at 7.15pm and worked on her for over an hour.

“Unfortunately there was nothing they could do; she had been shot twice with an air rifle and this had punctured her abdomen and proved fatal. She died at 8.30pm.

“The other cat was examined by the vet and had also been shot once in the shoulder. I have been advised that after medical attention he ought to make a full recovery.

“Neither cat wandered far from our home, in the centre of Kirkbymoorside, and always had returned within 30 seconds of being called by name.

“It raises the question who would deliberately murder a family pet?

“Precious has been searching around the house for Pebble. He now follows me around the house, I’m sure he feels anxious after the death of his companion.

“Our family is devastated. Worse for us knowing that it has happened in such close proximity to our home.”

North Yorkshire Police has launched an appeal for the public's assistance in establishing the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

A spokesperson said anyone information should phone 101, email James.Pearce@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting ref number 12190203166.