RSPCA figures reveal 109 animals have been shot with air rifles across South Yorkshire since 2010 – and incidents are rising.
So far this year, there have been 14 incidents reported to the charity. The figures show that since 2010 the number has risen every year from 25, to 24 in 2011 and 36 in 2012.
Nationally, there were 799 gun attacks reported.
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. Injuries caused are horrific and often fatal.
“These attacks are often deliberate by people who just don’t care about hurting animals or are 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 RSPCA believes that a great many reports of animals shot with air weapons go unreported, often because owners just aren’t aware that injuries have been caused in this way or because the animals aren’t found.
Mr Yeates added: “We are calling for tighter controls with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun.”
To report an incident of animal cruelty call 0300 1234999.
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