An RSPCA inspector fears more animals could be at risk after a spate of incidents in Highbridge where seagulls have been fatally injured by someone shooting at them with an air rifle.
Inspector Hayley Lawrence has been called to the industrial estate in Commerce Way, Highbridge three times this month after concerns were raised by local residents when they found gulls that had been injured by shotgun pellets.
The first gull was found with injuries caused by air gun pellets on 3rd June before a second gull was found with its wing partially torn off and bleeding because of injuries called by an air rifle on 5th June.
A third gull was discovered with a broken wing and leg injuries near the same industrial estate in Commerce Way on 12th June. Sadly all three gulls had to be put down because of the severity of their injuries.
The RSPCA is now appealing for anyone with information about the person responsible for the attacks to contact the animal welfare charity after fears were raised that more animals could be targeted.
Inspector Lawrence told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Unfortunately, we regularly have to deal with injured or dead animals which have been shot by people using air rifles. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal. Cats and wildlife, particularly birds, are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.”
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenseless animals. People need to remember the devastating consequences that shooting at animals with air guns can have.”
“We are supporting Cats Protection’s call for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.”
“We would also like to remind people that all wild birds are in England and Wales are protected and anyone shooting birds without a licence could face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5,000 if found guilty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”
The RSPCA says it receives hundreds of reports of gun attacks on animals every year and, in 2016, the charity’s 24-hour cruelty line had 890 calls relating to these types of attacks.
Anyone with information on the airgun attacks is asked to contact the RSPCA on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.