A CAT had to be put down after it was shot with an air weapon.
The attack is believed to have taken place in Oak Road, Alderholt, near Fordingbridge, between 11am and 11.20am last Thursday.
It came as the RSPCA is campaigning for tighter controls on air guns amid a high number of animals being targeted across the country.
A Dorset Police spokesperson said that following this particular incident, the cat had to be euthanised by a vet due to the injury it had sustained.
Last month, the RSPCA revealed it had received 7,671 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales, with 18 having taken place in Hampshire.
The animal welfare charity’s national records showed that during the year cats bore the brunt of the shootings, with 258 incidents.
It also said incidents increase during the summer months, attributing this to there being more daylight hours.
As well as mandatory licensing, the RSPCA is calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem of air guns.
Investigations into the Alderholt attack are continuing, and anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting crime reference number 55190128127, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.