County in top ten for air gun attacks on animals

The animal welfare is appealing for new laws over air gun attacks on animals.The animal welfare is appealing for new laws over air gun attacks on animals.
The animal welfare is appealing for new laws over air gun attacks on animals.
There were 46 incidents of animals being injured in West Yorkshire by airguns last year say the RSPCA.

Standing at fifth in the rankings, the county falls into the top ten across the country for calls to the animal welfare charity about airgun attacks.

Now the RSPCA is calling for mandatory licensing of airguns in England and Wales, as it is revealed the charity received 4,500 calls in five years UK wide about attacks on animals using such weapons.

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It wants to see England and Wales follow the lead of Scotland, where airgun owners and users have been required to have a licence since 1 January 2017 and will be giving the recommendation as part of a submission to the UK Government’s current review of the regulation of air weapons following two serious incidents involving children.

Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Suffolk, Dr Peter Dean, wrote to the Home Office requesting a review of legislation covering the use and manufacture of air weapons, following the death of a 13-year-old boy in May 2016 after he was accidentally shot with an air weapon.

David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director of external affairs, said: “The review around the regulation of air weapons is welcomed by the RSPCA and we hope our submission to the Government will help demonstrate the scale of calls to us every year and remind the Government it is important to protect animals as well as people.

“It is heartbreaking that such a tragic incident has sparked this review and our thoughts go out to Benjamin’s family and friends, but we hope that any future regulation of these weapons in England and Wales will better protect people and animals.

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"The RSPCA has long been calling for stricter controls over airguns as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying one. Our 24-hour cruelty hotline receives hundreds of calls every year reporting airgun attacks on animals. Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well.”