A beloved family pet and children's best friend has been put down after it was left paralysed by a broad daylight shooting in Flaxmere.
Owner Ashlee Friis said it was an "unthinkable" act, that had huge ramifications for her family.
"I just can't believe someone could do something like this or anything this cruel, it just hurts to think about it."
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Friis was taking her children to swimming practice about 3.30pm on Thursday afternoon.
As she was going into her car she saw her two year old cat Preston crawling up their drive way on Berwick St.
"I knew instantly something was wrong because he was struggling to move and not even attempting to use his back legs," Friis said.
"I took him inside but he wasn't happy at all and he just seemed scared, even when I tried to calm the kids down he wasn't happy at all."
She initially thought that he had been hit by a car, but after taking him to the local vet and they found what suspected to be a BB gun pellet lodged into his back, that had damaged the vertebrae in his spine.
Friis said her heart sank when the vet found the pellet.
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"When I saw him I thought a car just hit him. I would have been able to put it down to somewhat of an accident.
"But to see the pellet in his back it just hit hard and makes me sad to think someone would do that."
Friis says it is harder on her two boys Isaiah, 5, and Luca, 9, who were both shaken by the ordeal.
She says it is especially harder on Luca who suffers from multiple health problems, and is in and out of hospital.
He saw Preston as a friend and companion in tough times.
"Luca just loved him to bits and they would always be together and always put a smile on his face," she said.
"Both the boys were heartbroken but wanted to say their goodbyes to Preston which gave a little comfort in the end."
A Hawke's Bay SPCA spokesperson said it was looking into the incident.
Shooting an animal and causing it suffering in this way is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act, the spokesperson said.
Under that current law the maximum penalty for the wilful ill-treatment of an animal is three to five years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $100,000 for an individual, this includes permanently disabling an animal.
The SPCA spokesperson said numbers of shooting incidents involving animals in the region were not available, but several incidents had recently occurred.
Friis said the words she wanted to say to the person responsible were best kept in her head, but just wants them to know they have hurt their family with what they have done.