CATS and pigeons are the most targeted animals by people who use air guns.

Animal welfare charity, RSPCA, has received 767 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales.

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Pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings with 258 incidents recorded, while 112 pigeons were shot.

The charity has received 126 reports of animals in the South East who have been shot by air guns and Oxfordshire has the second lowest number of animals shot, with six incidents reported, while Kent is the worst in the region with 35 reports.

Oxford Mail:

Nearly half of vets who replied to a British Veterinary Association survey in 2016 said they had treated cats which had been victims of airgun crime and nearly half those incidents had proved fatal. 

The RSPCA is now calling for the licencing of air guns in response to the statistics.

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Dermot Murphy, RSPCA Chief Inspectorate Officer said: “Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of airgun 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. 

“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. We believe that stricter controls are long overdue.

“Mandatory licensing would be an effective start, but we also need improved enforcement of airgun legislation as well as better, more targeted education and explanation of the law for those buying one.”