Rat shot from pipe

Footage posted on Facebook showed a rat being taken out of a bin by clamping pliers, being forced into a pipe attached to a tyre compressor, then shot up into the air like a living cannonball.

Following an appeal for information, we received numerous calls from people trying to identify those responsible for this disturbing act of cruelty.

Rat suffered for "a bit of fun" 

Rat struggling whilst being forced into a makeshift cannon © RSPCA

In the footage, the rat can be seen struggling and is heard squeaking in fear. The men hit the rat on the head with a piece of metal before forcing it down into the pipe head first. The men then run outside, where they use compressed air to blast the rat over a neighbouring building. 

Laughing and swearing can be heard during the incident, giving the impression that they were having fun.

Unfortunately, the rat was never found but it was clearly alive and healthy before the cruel act. A veterinary surgeon stated the rat would've suffered during this whole process.

Their excuse was because rats are only vermin

In interviews, the men claimed the rat had fallen into the bin by itself, which was not credible. They claimed they thought the rat was dead, then it ‘came alive’ and that they were putting it out of its misery as it had been poisoned. They insisted that none of this really mattered because the rat was ‘only vermin’.

They pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the rat and were each sentenced to undertake £180 hours’ unpaid work and pay £360 costs each.

Animal cruelty is never acceptable

After sentencing, our Inspector said:

This was such a horrific case – the rat would have suffered terribly. Even though some people see rats as vermin they're protected by law in certain circumstances. They're living creatures that feel fear and pain.

These men purposely attached a gas compressor and put the rat in a tube and fired it. They knew exactly what they were doing. This was premeditated and chillingly cruel.

We would really like to thank everyone who got in touch with information on this case. We really appreciate all the efforts to help track these men down, which have ultimately led to a successful conviction.


Defendants: Male 29, service engineer; male 42, mechanic; male 36, mechanic

Offence: Animal Welfare Act 2006 s4

Pleas: Guilty

Convictions: Three

Sentences: 80 hours unpaid work and £360 costs each

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