French mayor tries to shoot cat but hits schoolboy in head

A mayor of a village in the Charente area of western France was being held in custody after accidentally shooting a boy in the head when he was aiming for a cat.

French mayor tries to shoot cat but hits schoolboy in head
File Photo: Rande Archer/Flickr

According to reports in the local press Eric Lambert, the mayor of the village of Malaville, near the city of Angoulême at 7am.

He had apparently targeted his 22 caliber rifle at a cat who was encroaching a little too close to his hen house but his aim was off.

But the bullet missed the feline, ricocheted off an object and then struck the boy who was waiting patiently for a bus.

The boy was rushed to hospital in Bordeaux and was due to undergo an operation. His condition is not believed to be life threatening.

Prosecutors immediately opened an investigation and the mayor of Malaville was placed in custody and questioned over the incident.

It's not the first time in France that someone has accidentally shot a child whilst aiming their gun at an animal.

The Local reported previously how a pensioner accidentally shot his son three times after apparently mistaking him for a black bird that was raiding the family cherry tree.

And France's hunting season is littered with tragic stories of people being accidentally shot, often fatally.

Pensioner shoots son mistaking him for bird

The latest incident will no doubt raise questions over whether the mayor should have been able to carry a rifle.

France has strict gun control laws but nevertheless gun ownership is widespread in France.

France is in 12th place in the world in the rankings of gun ownership, according to the Small Arms Survey.
The estimated total number of guns held by civilians – both legally and illegally – in France is around 10 million, according to figures published last year by Gun Policy, a project run by the University of Sydney.
But other studies say that there may be as many 20 million weapons owned by civilians in the nation of 65 million people.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about guns in France







France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.