04/22/2014 06:39 EDT | Updated 04/23/2014 12:59 EDT

Cat Found In Cranbrook With Pellets 'Embedded In His Head' (PHOTO)

A cat found by the highway near Cranbrook with seven pellet gun wounds in his head and a gash in his neck has been taken in by the BC SPCA East Kootenay branch.

“The pellets were embedded in his head," branch manager Brenna Baker said in a press release. "The vet says the wounds in his neck appear as though someone actually tried to cut his head off. He was severely emaciated."

“He is such a sweetheart and has gone through hell," Baker continued. "We just want people to know, especially with [Wednesday] being Animal Abuse Prevention Day, that this kind of abuse is happening in their communities — in their backyards.”

The cat has been named Nelson, after Willie Nelson's song "Highwayman."

The pellets were removed from Nelson's head and he was given several stitches. He will also need dental surgery because his teeth were shot and many are broken.

The news comes as the agency marks Animal Abuse Prevention Day on Wednesday. To donate to the BC SPCA, click here.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Animal Cruelty Charges Laid In Port Hardy Case See Gallery