Probe af­ter six swans shot

Birds were also de­cap­i­tated

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Rob Har­ries robert.har­[email protected]­di­awales.co.uk

THE re­mains of six de­cap­i­tated swans have been dis­cov­ered at Sandy Wa­ter Park in Llanelli.

The birds were all found in­side the park, with their heads and necks dis­cov­ered else­where at the same lo­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the RSPCA, they had been shot in the head and body with an air­gun, be­fore be­ing de­cap­i­tated.

The animal char­ity is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the “mind­less at­tacks”, which all hap­pened in the past two weeks.

“These six swans were found to be de­cap­i­tated with their necks and heads found close by,” said RSPCA in­spec­tor Keith Hog­ben.

“To try to find out what hap­pened one of the dead swans was sent away for a post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion, which found that the swan had been shot in the head and body by a BB gun and an air­gun. The swan was then most likely pre­dated upon, hence the de­cap­i­ta­tion.

“It’s so dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why any­one would carry out such mind­less at­tacks on in­no­cent, de­fence­less crea­tures. We don’t know how each of the swans died, but it is likely that they were all tar­geted by air­guns.

“We would also like to remind mem­bers of the pub­lic that all wild birds, in­clud­ing swans, are pro­tected un­der the Wildlife and Coun­try­side Act 1981 and it is an of­fence to kill, in­jure or take them ex­cept un­der li­cence. The max­i­mum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an un­lim­ited fine.”

RSPCA Cymru has re­leased x-ray im­ages of one of the dead swans, which clearly shows pel­lets lodged in­side the body, and is call­ing on greater con­trols with re­gards to air­gun own­er­ship. The char­ity said a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem should be in­tro­duced so air­guns could be traced back to their own­ers, cou­pled with more ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing.

Any­one who has any in­for­ma­tion on the at­tacks at Sandy Wa­ter Park is asked to contact the RSPCA’s cru­elty line on 0300 1234 999.

Pic­tures: RSPCA Cymru

X-rays show­ing pel­lets in­side dead swans found at Sandy Wa­ter Park in Llanelli (left).

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