VICIOUS dogs are savaging cats in a soaring number of deliberate "barbaric" attacks across Keighley.

Lurcher-type mutts are being set on defenceless moggies by teenage gangs.

Now anxious cat owners are taking to social media to raise awareness and warn others to be on their guard.

And a Cross Roads-based cat charity, which says it is aware of the "sickening" acts, has issued its own alert.

Several pets are believed to have died and others horrifically injured in the incidents, which have been particularly prevalent on the Braithwaite, Guard House and Bracken Bank estates.

A Braithwaite dad, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, said the mutilated remains of one of his two cats were found at a local play area just days after it had gone missing.

“It was a sickening sight,” said the 33-year-old sales manager.

“From her wounds, it was quite clear she had been attacked by dogs. She had horrible injuries, including two broken back legs. It's barbaric.

“It is awful to know there are people out there who will do this kind of thing, and we’re talking about teenage kids.”

He said the night their pet disappeared, his partner had heard someone outside the house shout “get it” and then the cry of a cat.

Sara Atkinson, founder of Yorkshire Cat Rescue at Cross Roads, also condemns the brutal practice.

“We've heard about these attacks but, fortunately, haven’t seen first-hand the consequences."

The Braithwaite cat owner added: “I posted the disappearance on Facebook, and a few days later someone who lives nearby called round to say they’d found a cat they believed was mine,” he added.

“I was absolutely distraught when I saw her.

“These gangs are going out at night hunting with dogs. It begs the question what these youngsters’ parents are doing.”

Another cat owner said that without firm proof of those responsible, it is difficult for the authorities to take action.

“There have been a number of attacks, which have left cats with horrendous injuries,” she said.

“Names have been suggested for those suspected of involvement, but a lot of people are worried about coming forward for fear of revenge attacks.

“One lady has suffered abuse and had things thrown at her house as she dared to say things to these youths."

Mrs Atkinson advises owners to try to keep their cats indoors at night when incidents are more likely to take place.

She said she had heard reports nationally of people obtaining cats purely for ‘bait’.

The RSPCA said it had not been made aware of the incidents.

But its chief inspector, Beth Clements, added: “If anyone has evidence this is happening or any specific concerns, we would like to hear from them so we can look into it further.”

She can be contacted on 0300 1238018.