A DOG walker says she was attacked by a councillor's pet cat and left with 24 puncture wounds - but police are powerless to do anything about it.

Mercy Tidey-Groom was mauled by the domestic cat, which she says belongs to the deputy mayor of Worthing.

She went to the police claiming that she had been savaged by councillor Richard Nowak's cat while walking in High Salvington, Worthing.

However, police said that because the incident involves a cat, not a dog, there is nothing that can be done legally.

Cllr Nowak refused to comment on the incident, although he reportedly claimed that his pet "is a wonderful cat" and "everyone likes him".

Mercy, who shared pictures of her injuries with The Argus, told how she has been left "traumatised" since the attack.

The Argus:

The 57-year-old said: "I am so scared, I keep telling everyone I walk past to be careful by the house.

"It's obviously a very deranged and vicious cat. People need to know to stay away."

Mercy was walking her dog on the pavement when she was attacked as she passed a property on Wednesday September 15, she said.

Her husband Nigel Groom revealed how the cat "then leapt out and began snarling and baring its teeth".

The 73-year-old said: "My wife then picked up our dog and the cat began clawing at her leg, trying to get to her face.

"She started running away and it kept following her just repeatedly clawing her leg.

"She was then about 50 yards away from the house and took her shoe off to try and get it away, the cat hopped over a wall and she came home with blood coming down her legs."

The Argus:

Nigel helped dress Mercy's 24 wounds before phoning 111, which sent a paramedic to their home in High Salvington.

Mercy then went to the doctors to have a tetanus jab and to get antibiotics to reduce the risk of sepsis.

The couple say the owner of the cat is Cllr Nowak, the Conservative representative of the Salvington ward.

Nigel said: "After the attack I went round there to speak with him, as I approached the premises the cat jumped out and bared its teeth at me. It is a totally dangerous cat.

"I told Mr Nowak what happened and he said 'oh sorry about that, but he is a wonderful cat, everyone likes him' and he basically said he knows it can get defensive."

The Argus has approached Cllr Nowak about the incident, he declined to comment and slammed the door.

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Nigel and Mercy approached the police but were told that because the incident involves a cat there was nothing that could legally be done.

A police spokesman told The Argus: "Although we understand the attack may have been distressing at the time, the report would not be treated as a criminal matter.

"The owner of a cat is not subject to the same laws as dog owners and an owner cannot be held criminally accountable for the actions of a cat."

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