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BIRD DUCKS A DEADLY SHOT; Mallard survives crossbow attack.

Byline: JAMES TAIT

A DUCK was shot through the neck with a crossbow then lived for two weeks with the bolt through its neck.

The bird even managed to fly and feed herself before she was rescued and had the foot-long missile removed.

Police are now hunting for the thug who used the female mallard as target practice near a quiet rural village.

The bolt had pierced the duck's throat, gone under its wing and come out the other side, narrowly missing vital organs.

She underwent an emergency operation and is recovering with the help of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A walker spotted the bird beside the River Almond at Almondbank, just outside Perth.

Animal welfare officers then set out to find her. SSPCA senior inspector Don Wilson said it was a miracle that the duck had survived the ordeal.

He added: "The bolt is almost a foot long, and may have been shot from close range depending on the power of the weapon that was used.

"It has gone diagonally right through the duck's neck and gullet, under its wing and come out through the other side."

The bird underwent surgery at a nearby vets' hospital in Huntingtower. She is being cared for at the SSPCA's Middlebank centre near Dunfermline, Fife.

If she had not been found she would have died from infections to the wounds.

The fiend who carried out the vicious attack could face up to five years in jail and a pounds 5,000 fine if caught.

Police last night condemned the "despicable" act.

Tayside Police animal welfare liaison officer PC John Robb said: "This is a very serious crime.

"It seems as though someone has gotten hold of a crossbow and gone prowling on the river for something to shoot at.

"Whoever carried this out could be a danger."

reporters@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

RECOVERY: Duck is on the mend; WEBBED FEAT: Duck flew and fed herself for two weeks with this crossbow bolt through her neck
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2004
Words:339
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