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233 airgun attacks on animals in Staffordshire and Cheshire since 2012

The RSPCA is calling for stricter regulations for airguns, to prevent them being used to injure animals.

There have been 119 incidents in Staffordshire since 2012, and 114 in Cheshire - with 30 taking place across the two counties already this year.

Nationally, 4,828 incidents have been reported to the charity in the last five and a half years, most involving wild birds and cats.

It is asking for the rest of the UK to following the example of Scotland, where legislation has been introduced which now means anyone with an airgun must have a licence.

County

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017 (to 30 June)

Total

Cheshire

17

28

24

14

17

14

114

Staffordshire

23

20

17

18

25

16

119

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.

“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.

“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.

“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.” 

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