A kitten which suffered multiple head injuries including the loss of an eye after being shot has been adopted by a vet who saved its life.
Pirate was not expected to last the night after being found with multiple air rifle injuries on an allotment in Wingate, County Durham.
The eight-week-old underwent a risky operation to have the pellets removed and has made a "miracle recovery".
Vet Lucie McKenzie said Pirate was now a "firm part of the family".
Ms McKenzie, who works at Westway Vets in Consett, said she initially believed Pirate had been attacked by chickens after concerned residents found him sheltering in a hen house.
She said the kitten was "barely alive" before undergoing surgery, and said the people who shot Pirate were "evil".
The vet said: "A pellet had gone right through his eye and come out at the top of his skull, leaving it fractured.
"The surgery was so delicate because he is so small and there is a risk of his body temperature dropping.
"We didn't know if he would wake up with brain damage. He lost one eye and couldn't see out of the other one after the surgery but, luckily, he has regained sight."
Pirate now lives with Ms McKenzie at her home in Sedgefield where she also keep three previously rescued dogs and two other cats.
"He is a firm part of the family and will have a home with me for the rest of his life," Ms McKenzie said.
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