UK & World News
RSPCA: Air Rifle Attacks On Animals Rising
Almost 800 air rifle attacks on animals were reported last year and latest figures suggest that 2013 could see another rise in similar incidents.
There were 799 incidents reported to the RSPCA in 2012 - an increase of 40 from the previous year.
And figures show that for the first six months of 2013, 438 reports had already been received leading the animal charity fearing another rise.
The majority of the reports involved wild birds, but cats were the second most targeted animal.
Herbie, a 13-year-old cat from Harlow, lost his eye after being shot in the face.
Wild birds attacked included two gulls which died after being enticed with pieces of bread before being shot at close range in Barrow-in-Furness.
James Yeates, chief veterinary officer at the RSPCA said: "Cats and wildlife are often the target of air rifle attacks, simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.
"The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal. These attacks are often deliberate by people who just don't care about hurting animals or deliberately targeting animals to keep them away from gardens.
"Whoever carries out these attacks needs to understand that they are illegal and you face up to six months in prison if caught.
"The fact that we have received almost 800 reports of injured animals is deeply worrying and shows we still need to keep up our work to stop such attacks."