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York Cat Owner Joins RSPCA's Call For Action On Air Rifles


6:37am 18th July 2013

A Huntington cat owner joins the RSPCA in North Yorkshire to call for action on air rifles. Trev Suter's cat Don has been shot twice, once in 2011 and again in March, when he almost lost him.

So far this year there've been ten incidents involving air guns reported to the RSPCA in the county, a figure which is rising nationally.

The RSPCA figures reveal that 799 air rifle attacks were reported to the charity across England and Wales in 2012, compared to 759 the previous year.

Shocking figures show that during the first six months of 2013, 438 reports have already been received. This indicates that the overall figure for 2013 is set to increase again as the majority of air weapon attacks happen in the summer months with an average of 60 reports received by the RSPCA each month between April and August in 2012.

The majority of the reports involve wild birds, but cats are the second most targeted animal say the RSPCA.

James Yeates, chief veterinary officer at RSPCA, said:  “Cats and wildlife are often the target of air rifle attacks, simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.  The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal.  These attacks are often deliberate by people who just don’t care about hurting animals or are deliberately targeting animals because they consider them a nuisance.

“Whoever carries out these attacks needs to understand that they are illegal and you face up to six months in prison if caught.

“The fact that we have received almost 800 reports of injured animals is deeply worrying and shows we still need to keep up our work to stop such attacks.”

Don, a four year old male tabby cat who lives with his owner in, York was shot with an air rifle in November 2011 then again in March 2013. The second time it was ‘touch and go’.

RSPCA inspector Karen Colman said: “Don has been caused a great deal of suffering and we want to know who is responsible. He has been very lucky. Another cat from the area has been killed and a large number of birds have been shot including pigeons, gulls, doves and magpies.

“Anyone with any information should call 0300 1234 999 and ask to leave a message for me.

The RSPCA believes that a great many reports of animals shot with air weapons go unreported, often because owners just aren’t aware that injuries have been caused in this way or because the animals aren’t found. We are calling 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.

The law and air rifles

  • It is illegal to shoot at and cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic animal with an air weapon.
  • It is only legal to shoot certain wildlife under a pest control licence and then animals and birds must be shot and killed humanely, which is usually not the case in many of the reports received by the RSPCA.
  • Air weapons may only be used by 14-17 year olds in public places if they are supervised.  They cannot buy, receive or hire air rifles and weapons must be looked after by someone aged 18 or over.
  • Under 14s can only use air weapons under supervision on private premises.
  • Air weapons cannot be used beyond the boundaries of land on which you have permission to shoot.
  • Air weapons cannot be used within 50 feet of the centre of a highway.

To help support the RSPCA’s work then please text HELP to 78866 now to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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