Call for air gun licencing as animals reportedly shot in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

The RSPCA is calling for the licencing of air guns
The RSPCA is calling for the licencing of air guns
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The RSPCA is calling for the licencing of air guns, as new figures reveal that the animal charity received 7671 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales, with 14 of these reports coming from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The RSPCA’s records also showed that pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings with 258 incidents in 2018, with pigeons coming second with 112 incidents.

As well as mandatory licencing, the RSPCA is calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem of air guns.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer, 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.

“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.”

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. A significant proportion of the 50,000 public responses to the Government’s air weapons review were about the use of these weapons against animals such as cats.

Dermot continued: “We are disappointed that 18 months after it concluded the Government have still yet to say how they will improve the management and use of air guns despite evidence given to them on the suffering caused to animals through their misuse.

“Animals continue to be maimed and killed every year so the RSPCA is calling on the Government to bring in tighter restrictions such as licensing, which we know in Scotland worked, resulting in a 75 per cent drop in animal related complaints in its first year.”