A cat died after being shot with an air gun in Abu Dhabi, while others were wounded in an apparent spate of attacks on the animals, a vet said.
Rescuers discovered the body of the stray in the bushes on the Corniche two weeks ago.
It did not initially appear to have any obvious injuries, but closer inspection revealed a small wound on the cat’s shoulder.
Rescuer David Ashwin took the white and ginger cat to the vet for a post-mortem examination, which revealed it had been shot.
“This is not the first time a cat has been [intentionally] killed,” said Mr Ashwin, who is from India and has lived in the UAE for 11 years.
"In October there was a cat thrown on a bench," he said.
“There was blood all over the bench, also on the Corniche. There is very gruesome stuff happening here.”
The UAE has strict laws governing animal abuse.
Anyone caught abusing, or illegally hunting, buying or selling animals faces a fine of up to Dh200,000 and a one-year prison term under Federal Law 18, which was issued in 2016.
Mr Ashwin and a friend submitted the paperwork to the police with a view to opening a case of animal abuse.
“They have taken things down in writing, but there is no case registered yet,” he said.
"We have submitted the photos and the veterinary report."
Mr Ashwin said another cat that lived in the same colony appears to also have been woundedut he had not yet been able to catch it to take it in for treatment.
“She keeps running and hiding,” he said.
“She is limping a lot and not able to use her leg. She was near the other cat, and it happened at the same time.”
Dr Ahmad Almanasreh, a veterinarian with Pure Life Veterinary Clinic Abu Dhabi, who carried out the postmortem examination, urged Mr Ashwin to submit a case to police.
He was aware of another cat that lived in the Mina Port area that was shot about two months ago. It survived after treatment.
"If we don't report it, maybe it will happen more and more," he said.
Another veterinary surgery in Abu Dhabi also recorded an increase in cases of abuse in the city, in addition to more animals being abandoned.
"We are seeing more cases of abuse," said Dr Susan Aylott, a partner at Animalia.
“People need to be educated – it should be part of the school curriculum,” she said.
The surgery has established programmes of its own to promote awareness, she said.
“We have an animal welfare club and friends of Animalia programme with many of the young ambassadors helping to design educational material to educate others and even set up their own animal welfare clubs.”
Animal rescuers previously said they were struggling to keep up with the number of animals being abandoned as a result of hardships related to the pandemic.
"At the clinic, we have more cats and dogs up for adoption after being abandoned," Dr Aylott said.
Rescuers desperately need help, she said.
“Measures to help abandonment could be airlines giving free or 50 per cent off cargo costs for any animal rescued from the UAE,” she said.