Man charged following cat shooting

2018-07-04 16:29
A picture of the cat, Bagheera, who was shot and killed by an air rifle on Monday.

A picture of the cat, Bagheera, who was shot and killed by an air rifle on Monday. (File)

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Charges of cruelty to animals and malicious injury to property have been laid against the man accused of shooting and killing a Prestbury woman’s cat with an air rifle last week.

Barbara Still laid charges at the Prestbury police station on Tuesday against a neighbour she suspects shot her cat, Bagheera, last Monday.

Still said there had been some issues at the station when she tried to charge the man for discharging an airgun in a built-up area and it is still unclear at this stage if that charge was added to the case docket or not.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said that no charge could be laid against the man for discharging an airgun as, although it is considered a dangerous weapon, “it is not a deadly weapon”.

South African Airgun website airrifle­, however, states that air rifles are to be treated as firearms.

“Law number one: airguns are not toys. Treat airguns with the same respect as you would any dangerous weapon or firearm,” it states.

It goes on to say that “a firearm is any airgun with a calibre of 5,6mm (.22 calibre) and over”.

“Airguns in this category are not exempt from firearm licensing requirements by the special provisions chapter three of section five in the Firearm Controls Act.”

The act says that it is an offence to: cause injury to any person or cause damage to property of any person by negligently using a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun.

It states that it is also an offence to fire an airgun in a “manner likely to injure or endanger the safety or property of any person or with reckless disregard for the safety or property of any person”.

The act went on to say that it is an offence to “discharge a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun in a built up area or any public place, without good reason to do so”.

Airsoft gun enthusiast Ronaldo Fourie told The Witness on Tuesday that although the names sound similar, airsoft guns and air rifles are very different.

“Airsoft guns are non-lethal in nature. They are used in a sport where people shoot at each other, similar in nature to paintball,” he said.

“When you get hit it feels a little like a bee sting. If members use a metal pellet they will be charged for assault amongst other charges. Even though our guns operate on air similar to that of an air rifle we cannot harm any animals or people with it.”

He said air rifles however, were a different story.

“Air rifles are developed for target shooting and hunting. They operate at a much higher FPS (feet per second) and Joule (kinetic energy) rating to be able to do what they need to ...”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  animal cruelty

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