RSPCA in call for airgun licensing
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