Six-week-old cygnet shot dead with BB gun in nest at Houghton golf course

A six-week-old cygnet has been found dead in a nest after it was shot with a BB gun.

The body of the bird was found in its nest on the Elemore Golf Course in Houghton-le-Spring on Sunday. The RSPCA was contacted and the body was collected.

The organisation has now launched an appeal and is calling for witnesses with any information to come forward.

Inspector Terri-Ann Fannon said: “This poor cygnet is only around six weeks old and was sitting on its nest when it was targeted in this senseless attack.

“A member of the public was extremely upset when she discovered the bird’s bloodied body laying on its nest on the smaller of two lakes at the golf course. She took the bird’s body home with her as well as the metal pellet from the airgun before calling us.”

(Image: RSPCA)

The animal welfare charity has now launched an investigation and is calling for any witnesses to come forward.

“It’s utterly disgraceful to shoot and kill this beautiful bird and I’d like to remind people that, as well as being cruel and completely unnecessary, it is also illegal.”

Killing a swan is illegal and anyone caught deliberately trying to injure a wild bird, or kill or take it without a licence, can face up to six months in prison as well as an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Ms Fannon added: “Sadly, we see all too often the impact that these potentially deadly weapons can have on animals such as wild birds and cats.

“That’s why we want to see stricter controls over airguns as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying one.”

Anyone with any information about what might have happened is urged to contact the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland