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RSPCA calls for air gun controls, after 43 animal shootings in West Midlands and Staffordshire last year

By Jordan Reynolds | Crime | Published:

A total of 43 animals were shot with an air gun across the Black Country and Staffordshire last year, new figures have revealed.

Now the RSPCA is calling for the licensing of air guns, as the figures revealed that the animal charity received 7,671 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales.

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.

Across the West Midlands there were 33 incidents of an animal being shot and 10 in Staffordshire.

As well as mandatory licensing, 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 airgun 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.

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"Mandatory licensing would be an effective start, but we also need improved enforcement of airgun legislation as well as better, more targeted education and explanation of the law for those buying one.”

A Government review into the use of airguns after the death of a boy concluded 18 months ago but has yet to report its conclusions and recommendations.

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 airguns 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.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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