The RSPCA is caring for a cat that had been living as a stray in Luton, before being shot in the leg with an air gun.
Lara is believed to have been abandoned by her owners and had been living as a stray for a number of weeks, some residents had taken pity on her and had been providing her with food.
But they noticed she had started to limp on her back leg, so contacted the RSPCA for help.
RSPCA animal collection officer Grace Mead went to the location and collected Lara from the area of Bishopscote Road, Luton, on Tuesday, November 26, before taking her to a local vet for a check up.
When her leg was x-rayed it was discovered she had been shot with an air gun and the pellet was wedged in her body, causing damage to a tendon.
The RSPCA has now taken on the care of Lara and she has been transferred to RSPCA Blackberry Farm animal centre, where vets carried out an operation to remove the pellet. Her rehabilitation and cage rest is likely to take a number of weeks.
Grace said: “Poor Lara, she really has had the most terrible time. We have been told that she may have been abandoned by her owners who have since moved away.
"She was left alone to fend for herself, and then if this wasn’t bad enough someone has since shot her with an air gun.
“We are very grateful to the members of the public who contacted us to help Lara as they had also been giving her food as well.
“If she hadn’t have been rescued her leg may have become infected and she would have been even more vulnerable than she already was.
"It’s really upsetting to think what could have happened to her. It just makes me feel so sad to think that she’s been through so much in her short life.
“Thankfully though she is now in RSPCA care where she will receive all the treatment and love she needs and in time we will look to rehome her to a loving new family that she truly deserves.”
Lara is around one to two years old and was not microchipped.
Anyone with information regarding what happened to Lara is urged to call the RSPCA in confidence on the inspector appeal line 0300 123 8018.