The number of calls to the RSPCA reporting airgun attacks on animals is set to reach a five-year high.

Britain’s biggest animal charity has already received more than 470 calls about such incidents in the first six months of the year, compared to 455 during the same period in 2016.

Areas in the north of England, including Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, feature prominently in the top 10 counties in which the RSPCA has received calls about airgun attacks on animals.

The charity is backing calls for stricter regulations around the use of airguns, following the introduction of legislation in Scotland which now means that anyone with an airgun must have a licence.

Figures for the North East and other areas for the north of England are as follows:

The number of airgun attack calls received by the RSPCA by county in the north of England Credit: RSPCA
103

The number of airgun attack calls received by the RSPCA from North Yorkshire

102

The number of airgun attack calls received by the RSPCA from County Durham

Last year, the RSPCA received 890 calls to our 24-hour cruelty hotline reporting airgun attacks.

This is set to be topped in 2017 however, with 471 calls received by the RSPCA by the end of June, with six months of the year still to come.

By far the highest number of the 4,828 airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1st January 2012 and 30th June 2017 were about wild birds (2,003) and cats (1,814). This is followed by wild mammals (349), dogs (345) and farm birds (104).

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said:

“It is a depressing fact that every year hundreds of victims of airgun attacks are reported to the RSPCA. While wild animals are often victims, the most targeted animal is domestic cats that often suffer fatal or life-changing injuries.

Dermot Murphy
2,003

airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2017 were about wild birds

1,814

airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2017 were about cats

349

airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 Jan 2012 and 30 June 2017 were about wild mammals

345

airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2017 were about dogs

104

airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2017 were about farm birds

The figures have been released at one of the busiest times of the year for RSPCA inspectors investigating these deliberate attacks.

“July and August, when the days are longer and people are out and about more, are typically some of the busiest months for RSPCA inspectors investigating incidents of animals shot by people using airguns.

Dermot Murphy