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59 animals are shot with air guns in a year; CATS BEING TARGETED THE MOST IN CRUEL ATTACKS.

Byline: KALI LINDSAY Reporter kali.lindsay@reachplc.com

MORE than 50 animals were shot by air guns in the North East last year, new figures reveal.

The RSPCA reports that 59 animals were shot in the region, with North Yorkshire recording 23 incidents, County Durham, 17; Tyne & Wear, 12; and Northumberland, seven.

Across England and Wales, there were 767 reports of animals shot and pet cats took the brunt of the shootings, with 258 incidents, figures from the animal charity reveal.

The charity is now calling for the mandatory licensing of air guns and improved enforcement of air gun legislation.

Dermot Murphy, Animals horrendous and often a result RSPCA Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: "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.

Dermot "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."

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.

The charity said 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.

Mr Murphy added: "We are disappointed that 18 months after it concluded, the Government have yet to say how they will improve the management and use of air guns despite evidence on the suffering to animals through their misuse.

are injuries dying as air gun Murphy "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% drop in animal-related complaints in its first year."

A Home Office spokesperson said the UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.

They added: "The Home Office announced a review of the regulation of air weapons in late 2017 in order to assess whether the current controls, which are already strong, continue to be appropriate and effective. We intend to publish the conclusions of the review alongside a wider consultation on firearms safety as soon as possible."

of air gun education disappointed after o"Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of air gun attacks Dermot Murphy

CAPTION(S):

A cat injured from an air gun attack, and inset, X-ray of a gull shot with an air gun

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 19, 2019
Words:516
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