Hunt for sniper after six swans found dead (Image: Getty)
The stately birds were left slumped on the ground minus their heads and necks after they are feared to have been peppered with shots. X-rays of one of the swans clearly shows how it was hit with a ball bearing as well as airgun pellets. It is likely the birds were decapitated by scavenging animals who came across their remains.
The RSPCA today described the attacks on the swans at the Sandy Water Park in Llanelli, Dyfed, as “mindless”.
A criminal investigation was launched after Swan Rescue South Wales was informed about the horrific scenes and passed on the shocking details to the animal welfare charity.
RSPCA Inspector Keith Hogben, who is investigating the incident, said: “These six swans were found to be decapitated with their necks and heads found close by.
“To try and find out what happened, one of the dead swans was sent away for a post mortem examination, which found that the swan had been shot in the head and body by a BB gun and an airgun. The swan was then most likely predated upon, hence the decapitation."
X-ray of swan showing projectile embedded (Image: RSPCA)
RSPCA Inspector Hogben continued: “It’s so difficult to understand why anyone would carry out such mindless attacks on innocent, defenceless creatures. We don’t know how each of the swans died, but it is likely that they were all targeted by airguns.”
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to injure or kill wild birds, including swans, without a licence, with culprits facing up to six months’ prison and unlimited fines.
The RSPCA is pressing for stricter controls on airguns, calling for a certification systems as well better education and safety training in line with Scotland.
“This would mean airguns can be traceable and hopefully deter these horrible attacks on animals, as well as people,” says the charity.
Anyone who has any information about the incident should contact the RSPCA’s cruelty line, in complete confidence, on 0300 1234 999.