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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Pet cat chased and killed by dogs
Yoshi the cat
Yoshi's owner said he loved curling up on her lap
Animal welfare officers have appealed for information after a family's pet cat was chased and killed by men with dogs.

Fifteen-month-old Yoshi was attacked at the Baron's Haugh nature reserve in Motherwell.

Three men chased the cat then shook it out of a tree and set Jack Russell terriers on it.

The Scottish SPCA said it was the first time a family pet had been deliberately targeted in a coursing incident.

The attack happened after Yoshi went missing on Sunday.

His owner, who did not want to be named, put up flyers in the local neighbourhood.

Someone knows who these people are and we would ask them to come forward
Doreen Graham
Scottish SPCA

She said: "I was just devastated when someone told me they had watched in horror as Yoshi was killed deliberately by three men and their dogs.

"People were shouting at them to stop, but by the time they were close enough the cowards ran off.

"All I have left is his collar. There wasn't even a body to bury."

The 26-year-old woman had taken care of Yoshi since he was born.

She added: "He was the gentlest cat in the world and loved nothing more than curling up on your lap and falling asleep.

"These men have taken him away from me to satisfy their own blood lust. I just can't understand the mind of someone who could kill such a friendly creature."

Wildlife crime

Scottish SPCA spokeswoman Doreen Graham said there had been a "significant rise" in coursing incidents this year.

Mrs Graham said: "We are seeing more and more coursing incidents now, targeting animals including roe deer and badgers.

"But this is the first time we know of a family pet being deliberately targeted.

"Someone knows who these people are and we would ask them to come forward. We desperately need information."

Earlier this week the Scottish Government announced a wide-ranging review of wildlife crime.

Scottish Environment Minister Mike Russell said it would look into the prevention, investigation and prosecution of such crimes.

Scotland's police forces and the prosecution service are to report on the review in Spring 2008.

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