Why did they shoot my mate Socks?

MARY Maloney heard the gunshots she believes killed her cat, but stayed indoors out of fear for her life.

The Walla woman has expressed her distress and disgust at a group of fox shooters she said shot her beloved “Socks”.

“It makes me so angry they were shooting so close to a person’s house and just killed my pet for the fun of it,” she said.

The hunters — invited by a relative, not Ms Maloney — killed several foxes before leaving the Brooklyn Road property last Sunday, March 30.

Ms Maloney found fox carcasses where the hunters based themselves, near a water pump a few hundred metres from her home.

She lives in the farmhouse with her elderly mother, Jessie Maloney.

Ms Maloney is a full-time carer for her mother, who owns the farm.

Two days of searching failed to find any trace of three-year-old Socks.

Ms Maloney said Socks regularly went mousing in a shearing shed near the water pump.

“He always came when he was called,” Ms Maloney said yesterday.

“He never went very far from the house so he could always hear me if I called him.”

Ms Maloney said she had travelled “miles and miles” in her search for Socks.

“My first thought was the shooters, but I then thought he must have got bitten by a snake.”

Last Tuesday evening, she called her brother and sister-in-law, who, she said, knew the leader of the shooting party.

“I just asked them to give him a call and ask if he saw a cat,” she said.

The response was that they had shot 10 foxes, but didn’t see any cats.

A few hours later, the man rang her sister-in-law to admit they had deliberately shot Socks.

“I didn’t even have him to bury — they’ve just thrown him away like garbage,” Ms Maloney said.

A relative rang Albury police on her behalf and was told it was best to contact Walla police, although she could not get through to someone at the station.

“She rang the Culcairn police, which is the next closest to us, and the man said they definitely could be charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm too close to a residence,” Ms Maloney said.

She has since rung the Sydney RSPCA animal cruelty hotline.

RSPCA district inspector Lionel Smith said the incident was very much a matter for the police.

“If there’s a firearm involved, the police have to handle it,” he said.

Ms Maloney said she wanted some sort of justice because she dearly loved her pet, along with the clear threat the shooting had posed to herself and her mother.

“It’s quite an isolated area here, so my pets are company for me,” she said.

“It was just such a violent way for Socks to go.”

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