A CAT has been shot in the leg with a pellet gun in a senseless act of cruelty in a north Dublin suburb.
The animal was found by a member of the public in Ballymun last Thursday afternoon.
Rescue staff in the the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) were called to attend to the injured animal.
Allie, the name given to the cat by the animal rescue workers, had been shot in the front right leg.
An X-ray showed a broken bone in her upper leg and a secondary fracture in the lower part of her leg, which the charity suspects might have happened if she fell off a wall when shot.
The X-ray shows the pellet still lodged in her leg. It has not yet been decided by vets if the cat's leg will need to be amputated.
The shooting of a cat in the drama Love/Hate sparked outrage when it was broadcast
The cat will now be placed in foster care along with her four kittens, who are thought to be just a week old.
It is not yet known if she is somebody's pet.
"She is quite friendly, but she doesn't have any microchip," Gillian Bird of the DSPCA told the Herald.
The tabby cat is recovering well after the incident.
"Thankfully, she is very comfortable and is already feeding her kittens again," Ms Bird said.
She said that the "disturbing" incident was typical of the lack of respect that some people have for cats,
"Education about respect for living creatures is needed and the DSPCA need people's support to end this type of ignorant and deliberate cruelty," she added.
"This is, unfortunately, fairly typical of what the DSPCA comes up against. We have even had incidents of cats being shot with crossbows."
"It is one of the main reasons that we have education programmes in schools to try and show people that they need to have empathy with animals.
"It's horrendous and cruel to think that people would take pot-shots at a cat in this way if this was a deliberate action," she continued.
The incident will call to mind the now infamous scene in RTE's Love/Hate which showed a young man shooting a cat and laughing about it with a friend afterwards.
Viewers were outraged at the scene, though the State broadcaster assured people that the animal in question was not injured.
Some 41 complaints were lodged with bosses in Donnybrook following the graphic broadcast.
Leading animal charities slammed the TV show scene at a time when levels of animal cruelty was rising.
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), which deals with many cases of animal cruelty around the country said that they feared it would spark copy cat incidents among young people.
RTE defended the inclusion of the scene and had the cat appear as a guest on the Late Late Show.
The ISPCA deals with dozens of instances of cruelty toward animals every year. In March, the northwest branch of the group faced a disturbing incident in Ballina, Co Mayo.
A collie pup was found dead in the River Moy where it drowned after being dumped there with a breeze block tied around its neck.
Gardai investigated the incident which the animal group described as "cold blooded".
The pup, who was about a year old, would have suffered considerably during the ordeal, according to the vet on scene.