The peace at a haven for rescued animals created at Mann Cat Sanctuary, in Santon, was shattered on Saturday afternoon after the cattery roofs and field were showered with air pellets.
The shooters’ target were seagulls and rooks in a nearby field, and they didn’t stop until police arrived on the scene more than two and a half hours later.
Sue Critchley, who founded the sanctuary and called the police, said the incident was ‘very distressing’.
She said the pellets clipped their ponies and startled two of the cats that had been outside enjoying the sunshine.
‘A sanctuary is a place of refuge, a safe, peaceful haven free from all the dangers in the world, ‘ Sue said.
‘I’ve allowed the dangers of the world to infiltrate.’
She was told that the shooters had acted legally – but she is keen to ensure the incident is never repeated, and she has contacted Chief Constable Gary Roberts.
‘I can’t change what’s happened. But I feel duty bound to make every effort to make sure it can never happen again,’ she said.
‘I have got to make sure it’s not going to happen when we have got visitors.’