Swan killed by ‘brutal’ thugs with air gun leaving mate to raise babies alone

A swan has been killed by brutal thugs who shot him through the eye as he protected a nest of eggs.

Shocked bystanders called rescuers after spotting blood pouring from the bird's ruptured eye on Saturday in Poole, Dorset.

A hunt for the attackers is underway as the RSPCA blasted the "brutal cruelty towards a defenceless animal".

The charity released horrific x-rays of the swan's injuries which forced him to be put down.

Animal welfare officer Jo Blackburn said: "He’d been shot with an air weapon through his eye, which had caused him fatal injuries.

"This pellet was left embedded in his neck. Sadly on further examination it was discovered the poor swan’s injuries were too severe and the bird was put to sleep to prevent him suffering further."

The male swan had been shot through the eye and was later put down to prevent any further suffering, the RSPCA said.

The dead swan's mate was believed to have been sitting on their nest of eggs at the time of the attack.

Residents reported seeing the bird with a ruptured eye and blood on its head when the charity was called.

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An X-ray later revealed a pellet was embedded in its neck.

Jo said: "This brutal cruelty towards a defenceless animal has left us really shocked and saddened.

"These swans have been intentionally targeted when they were at their most vulnerable – while sitting on their nest

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“Swans famously form monogamous bonds that can last for many years so it is heartbreaking to think the female swan has now been left alone to try to hatch her eggs and bring up her young without her mate."

Intentionally killing or injuring a swan is a criminal offence punishable with up to six months in jail and an unlimited fine.

The RSPCA says is hopes this tragedy helps highlight the dangers posed by air weapons.

Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenceless victims of air gun attacks.

Jo said: "I’m appealing to the local community to show kindness towards this swan and all wildlife by keeping an eye on them and helping to keep them safe.

"I’m also appealing to anyone who has information about the person responsible for this cruel attack to report this through the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

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