An ‘alarming number of reports have been received by the RSPCA about animals being targeted by guns over the last 18 months.
Since the beginning of 2020, 371 incidents have been reported where the caller believed an air gun or rifle had been used to target an animal.
The charity believes the total number of incidents will be substantially higher, however, as often a bullet or pellet is discovered after the RSPCA has intervened when an animal has been found in distress.
The figures are revealed as part of the charity’s summer ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ campaign, which renews calls for greater regulation linked to the use of air guns, including better education for owners and a thorough explanation of the law.
Steve Bennett, the RSPCA’s deputy chief officer of the inspectorate, said: “The last 18 months have been so tough for everyone and it really beggars belief that – while communities rallied around one another in the face of covid-19 – anyone thought it acceptable to spend their time taking pot shots at innocent animals. The fact we have continued to get hundreds of reports of animals being shot during lockdown restrictions is both startling and depressing.
“Pets are often the victim – especially cats – while wildlife are also targets of these callous acts. Animals can suffer terribly from the pain and injuries caused by air weapons, and sadly many lose their life as a consequence of being shot.”