Two pigeons were found injured and one had to be put to sleep after shooting them with a ball bearing slingshot.
The three birds were found in Tesco’s car park in Accrington by a shopper who brought them to Brambles Wildlife Rescue in Ribchester. Wildlife rehabilitator, Mel Greenhalgh runs the rescue with her husband, Dustin.
She examined the birds and suspects that they were victims of a ball bearing shooting and the shopper has told her that at least two more birds have been found dead since.
Mel, who is a university lecturer and psychotherapist, said: “I have never seen the same number all at once coming to us.
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“Birds don’t outwardly show pain or stress but we can see stress bars in the feathers. The splits in the feathers indicates stress and being shot with a slingshot with these type of injuries would be agonising, like for us if we had a shattered arm.
“Some people seem to think that other animals have superiority over pigeons. People call them rats with wings but if a dog was attacked in this way the reaction would be different.
“People who shoot birds usually have anti-social personality disorder and can go on to be criminals and have dangerous personalities. It is cruel to kill them or leave them with awful injuries.”
Mel says the first pigeon, which staff at Brambles named Percy, was brought to the rescue on January 6.
She says that Percy’s injuries upon first inspection were not obvious other than grazing on his feathers, but then she saw a circular wound on his chest. This discovery, coupled with her extensive experience of tending to animals who have been shot, led her to believe that Percy was shot with a ball bearing slingshot.
Percy had surgery to remove a ball bearing from his shoulder. He cannot extend his wing at the moment so he is under review.
Less than two weeks later pigeons Henry and Vince were taken to the rescue. When Henry had an x-ray staff were horrified to find the severity of the damage and sadly he had be put down due to the severe damage to his shoulder.
Vince, short for Invincible, had surgery to pin his foot and is currently on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. He was shot three times.
Mel says rumours have been circulating about youths targeting pigeons and that Tesco Accrington’s car park has become a notorious hotspot for their cruel sport. Tesco Accrington have confirmed they are assisting the police with their enquiries on this matter and have given them access to CCTV footage.
Tesco Accrington is not aware of any further incidents occurring in recent days but say they encourage anybody with further information to contact the police. Lancashire Police have confirmed that the incident has been reported to them and is being investigated.
Brambles Wildlife Rescue predominantly covers Longridge and Ribchester area but they offer to rehabilitate animals from other areas too with the support of vets.
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