RSPCA calls from airgun controls after dozens of animals and birds are shot in North East
The RSPCA received reports of animals being shot more than once a week on average in the North East last year.
Now the animal charity is calling for licensing of air guns, as the latest figures revealed that the charity recieved 59 reports of animals being shot from the North East region last year.
There were seven reports in Northumberland, 17 in County Durham, 12 in Tyne and Wear and 23 in North Yorkshire.
Pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings, with 258 incidents in 201, pigeons were second with 112 incidents reported.
As well as mandatory licencing, the RSPCA is calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem.
Chief Inspectorate Officer Dermot Murphy said: “During last year alone, we received 767 reports of attacks where air guns were used on animals across England and Wales.
“Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying and these weapons are also potentially extremely dangerous for people.
“Every one of the 258 pet cats and 73 dogs deliberately killed or maimed last year represents a devastated family. And the cruelty continues, with large numbers of wild mammals and birds, targeted as well.
“We believe that stricter controls are long overdue. Mandatory licensing would be a start, but we also need improved enforcement of airgun legislation as well as better, more targeted education.”
Nearly half of vets who replied to a 2016 survey said they had treated cats which had been victims of airgun crime and nearly half those incidents had proved fatal. A Government review into the use of airguns after the death of a boy concluded 18 months ago but has yet to report its conclusions and recommendations.
“We are disappointed that 18 months after it concluded the Government have still yet to say how they will improve the management and use of airguns despite evidence given to them on the suffering caused to animals through their misuse,”said Dermot Murphy.
“Animals continue to be maimed and killed every year so the RSPCA is calling on the Government to bring in tighter restrictions such as licensing, which we know in Scotland worked, resulting in a 75% drop in animal related complaints in its first year.”