RSPCA in call for air­gun li­cens­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spotlight On Hgvs -

Kent is one of the worst places in Eng­land and Wales for air­gun at­tacks on an­i­mals.

Fig­ures show the RSPCA re­ceived 51 calls about al­leged crimes tak­ing place in the county last year.

This put it se­cond only to the West Mid­lands na­tion­ally, and made it the worst in the south east.

In to­tal the RSPCA took 884 calls about air gun at­tacks on an­i­mals in 2017 across Eng­land and Wales.

The vic­tims in­cluded hun­dreds of wild birds, cats, dogs, and wild mam­mals.

It has led the RSPCA to call for the manda­tory li­cens­ing of air­guns.

The gov­ern­ment is cur­rently re­view­ing the reg­u­la­tion of air weapons fol­low­ing the death of a 13-year-old boy in Suf­folk in 2013.

David Bowles, RSPCA as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of ex­ter­nal af­fairs, said: “The RSPCA has long been call­ing for stricter con­trols over air­guns.

“Our 24-hour cru­elty hot­line re­ceives hun­dreds of calls ev­ery year re­port­ing air­gun at­tacks on an­i­mals.

“An­i­mals can suf­fer hor­ren­dous in­juries and of­ten die as a re­sult of air­gun at­tacks and th­ese weapons are po­ten­tially ex­tremely dan­ger­ous for peo­ple as well.”

The penal­ties faced for de­lib­er­ately us­ing an air­gun to in­jure an an­i­mal can be up to six months in prison and/or an un­lim­ited fine un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act.

Leg­is­la­tion in Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land re­quires any­one who pos­sesses or uses an air weapon to have a li­cence.

The RSPCA and Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Shoot­ing & Con­ser­va­tion are plan­ning a joint con­fer­ence this spring to try to iden­tify the scale of the prob­lem and find prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions.

In­ci­dents of an­i­mal cru­elty should be re­ported to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

To sup­port the RSPCA’s work in in­ves­ti­gatin g an­i­mal cru­elty, peo­ple can do­nate at www. rspca.org.uk/win­ter­ap­peal

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