A HORRIFIED dog walker has issued an urgent warning after her beloved pet was shot with a pellet.

Kate Taylor was enjoying a stroll along Dovercourt seafront, near to Stone Pier, when her Springer Spaniel yelped in pain.

She was shocked to discover a small, yellow pellet on the ground nearby and realised her dog, named Gizmo, had been shot.

Kate said six-year-old Gizmo, who is a rescue dog, was lucky to escape serious harm.

“If it had hit him in the eye it would have blinded him,” she said.

“I was walking from Dovercourt park towards Harwich with my two Springer Spaniels.

“As one cocked his leg to go to the toilet, he literally screamed out in pain “At first I thought he had stood on some glass but then I saw the little pellet.

“It must have really stung, luckily he wasn’t seriously injured.”

The pellet was fired at around 5.50pm on Monday.

When Kate, 63, looked around after the shot was fired, she could not see anyone acting suspiciously.

She suspects the pellet was fired from the nearby site of Beacon Hill Fort, which overlooks the spot where she was walking.

“I think he was hiding there,” she said.

“Looking around, it couldn’t have come from anywhere else, there were too many bushes and hedges for me to see properly.

“I just don’t understand it.

“Why use a helpless animal, my dog, as target practise?

“It is horrible behaviour, I was so shocked.

“I phoned the police that evening to explain what happened and they said they would talk with the local policing team.”

Gizmo has been a part of Kate’s family for the past three years after he was adopted from the Greek island of Zakynthos In September, the RSPCA issued a warning after a dog was shot with an air rifle in its own back garden.

Kellie Tyler’s Staffordshire bull terrier was hit by the projectile while out in the garden of her home in Victoria Street,Harwich.

A spokesman confirmed the charity is backing calls for stricter regulations around owning an air gun.

Katie added: “It is troubling, after the incident I spoke to a woman who said her dog had been shot the other week in Dovercourt.

“It is important dog owners are aware, there seems to be a trend.

“I have lived in the town for about 46 years, something like this has never happened before.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “The RSPCA is backing calls for stricter regulations around owning an airgun.

"This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that every one must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.”

Anyone with information can contact Essex Police on 101.