A HERON has died after being shot by an airgun in a ‘deliberate act of cruelty’ in Belbroughton.
The injured bird was found by a member of the public lying with a broken leg beside a stream that runs through gardens in the village on Sunday (April 16).
He was rescued by RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith who took him to Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre where an x-ray showed his broken leg had been caused by air gun pellets.
The heron was so badly injured, he was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.
Suzi Smith said: “It was clearly a very painful injury which had left the heron severely injured and unable to hunt.
“It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing harm to these beautiful and defenseless birds.
“This appears to have been a deliberate act of cruelty which caused the heron to tragically lose its life.”
“Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as we would like. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal.
“Cats and wildlife 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.
“We are calling for tighter controls with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun and that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop.
It is against the law to kill or injure wild birds (except under licence) and individuals can be fined up to £5,000 and potentially up to six months in prison for each bird killed.
“We urge anyone with information with what happened or who knows who targeted the heron to call the RSPCA Inspectorate Appeal Line,” she added.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
If you see an animal in distress you can ring the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 123 4999.