1. ITV Report

Animal airgun attacks on the rise in Cumbria

Photo: PA

The number of airgun attacks in Cumbria reported to the RSPCA is on the rise, according to new figures from the charity.

In the past five years, there has been a total of 42 incidents in the county.

The RSPCA says the number of reports are set to reach a five-year high in the north of England.

It's calling for tougher regulations around the use of airguns, following the introduction of legislation in Scotland which means that anyone with an airgun must have a licence.

Credit: RSPCA

One case in Windermere was a heron who had been shot with an air gun.

RSPCA inspectors were called to rescue the water bird after he was found with a severely broken wing.

Vets x-rayed the bird and found he had been shot in his right wing with a metal air gun pellet.

The pellet had completely fractured the bird's right humerus and he was so severely injured vets felt the kindest option was to put him to sleep.

In the past five years, the highest number of the 4,828 airgun attacks reported across England were:

wild birds.
wild mammals.
farm birds.

“We receive hundreds of calls from devastated cat owners every year after they discover their beloved pets have been shot. Often it isn’t until the x-rays reveal the pellets still lodged in the animal’s body that it becomes clear what they have been subjected to.

“It often leaves the victim with life-changing injuries, such as the lost of an eye, or even requiring the amputation of a limb. In some tragic instances, the injuries even prove fatal.

“It is difficult to understand how anyone could carry out these mindless attacks on innocent animals and we are 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 everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.”

“It is a worrying sign that there could be a rise in the number of calls reporting animals that have been shot by people using air weapons. People need to remember the devastating consequences for both pets and their owners. Behind these statistics there are hundreds of animals that have been subjected to horrible amounts of pain and suffering,”

– Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate