HORRIFIED welfare staff have been left traumatised after five tortured and mutilated cats were found dumped near a Fylde animal sanctuary.
The RSPCA was today set to investigate after the brutalised cats were discovered with what a vet today described as some of the worst injuries he had ever seen.
It is believed all of the domestic short hair cats had been tortured, with severe cuts around their eyes.
At least one of the eyes of all five cats had been gouged out.
Staff at Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, in St Annes, found some of the animals in a cardboard box and others wandering through fields.
Vets had to be put down three of the worst affected cats while the remaining two are still in a fragile condition at the sanctuary.
Easterleigh owner Mandy Leigh told The Gazette: “They had all been tortured.
“We often see neglect but I’ve never seen cruelty like this, it’s horrendous.”
Andrew Harrison, partner at Vets4Pets in St Annes, treated the cats said the injuries looked consistent with torture over a prolonged period.
He added: “The cats were in quite an unpleasant state and were very distressed.
“My gut feeling would be that torture had probably taken place. Some had older damage while the damage to others was quite recent.
“All five cats had one eye missing. The law of averages suggests this wasn’t from a cat fight.
“For five cats to have five eyes missing is a very strange situation indeed.”
Mr Harrison, who has been qualified as a vet since 2005, said it was one of the most severe cases he had ever seen.
He added: “I’ve seen some bad things but this would be one of the worst.
“We thought it fairer on them to put them to sleep.”
Staff at the sanctuary, on Queensway Park Farm, said they were shocked when one of their dog walkers made the first gruesome discovery on Friday morning.
Two cats were found left in a box at the end of the road to the sanctuary while another two were discovered later in the day.
A fifth cat was found on Saturday morning.
The animals, at first thought to be kittens due to their small size, all had rotten teeth, fleas and were drenched from recent downpours.
Mrs Leigh added: “My staff were all stunned. One girl was in shock.
“I can’t understand it.”
Mrs Leigh, who has run the sanctuary for 17 years, added: “I’ll give any animal a chance but the others were past anybody’s help, one had a big tumour on his face.
“One of the surviving cats will be blind and it’s difficult to know if they will survive.”
Mrs Leigh believes the cats may have been left by someone who had rescued them from the perpetrator of the torture.
Mr Harrison added: “I think the state they were left in was probably torture in itself.
“They were all drenched and riddled with fleas to the point where they had become anaemic.
“All we can do now is feed them gradually, bathe them and give them as much treatment as we can and hope the remaining two survive.”
The sanctuary will now hand the case over to the RSPCA to investigate. Bosses are appealing for people to come forward to offer a loving home and care to the animals.
Staff are also remaining vigilant around the grounds of the sanctuary in case any more cats are found.