Dozens of animals shot with air guns across South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire is one of the worst areas in the country for air gun attacks on animals, shock figures have revealed.
There were 28 incidents in the area last year, which was the highest in Yorkshire and the Humber and fifth highest in the country.
In addition, the RSPCA said they received 767 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales, with 82 of these reports coming from Yorkshire and the Humber.
The most targeted animal was the domestic cat with 258 incidents, followed by pigeons (112) and the domestic dog (73).
The animal welfare charity is now calling for the licencing of air guns in a bid to reduce the incidents.
Dermot Murphy, a chief inspectorate officer at the RSPCA, said: “During last year alone, we received 767 reports of attacks where air guns were used on animals across England and Wales.
“Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of air gun attacks and these weapons are also potentially extremely dangerous for people.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“Every one of the 258 pet cats and 73 dogs deliberately killed or maimed last year by people using air guns represents a devastated family.
“And the cruelty continues, with large numbers of wild mammals and birds, including foxes, squirrels, swans, gulls and pigeons targeted as well.
“We believe air gun misuse is happening on a large scale and what we see at the RSPCA could be the tip of the iceberg. We believe that stricter controls are long overdue.
“Mandatory licensing would be an effective start, but we also need improved enforcement of air gun legislation as well as better, more targeted education and explanation of the law for those buying one.”
In addition to the latest figures, nearly half of vets who replied to a British Veterinary Association survey in 2016 said they had treated cats which had been victims of air gun crime and nearly half those incidents had proved fatal.
A Government review into the use of air guns after the death of a boy concluded 18 months ago but has yet to report its conclusions and recommendations.