Two adult swans and five cygnets have been shot and killed in Kent.
Their bodies were discovered wrapped in plastic bags in Benenden, Kent on November 24.
Two of the birds’ bodies have been examined by the RSPCA – and X-ray images revealed one of the mute swans had been ‘peppered with bullets’ in the attack.
Dave Grant, an RSPCA inspector, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that someone would purposefully target and kill these beautiful birds, and it’s heartbreaking that an entire family has been wiped out in this cruel incident.”
An investigation has begun.
“It’s clear that these poor mute swans have been shot and killed deliberately,” he added.
PC Daniel Perry, from Kent Police rural task force, said it was called at about 10am on November 24.
He said police were helping the RSPCA with its investigation.
Mr Grant meanwhile, has appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“I’m keen to find out who is responsible for this senseless attack on this family of swans,” he said.
The RSPCA received 884 reports of air gun attacks on animals across England and Wales last year.
The organisation is demanding regulations on the weapons be tightened.
It is time for air guns to be regulated in this country – the killing of these Kent MUTE SWANS is utterly senseless – https://t.co/FYj11JYX0I
— Lee Evans (@LeeEvansBirding) December 2, 2018
BBC News – Family of swans shot dead in 'senseless' Benenden attackhttps://t.co/UplpFpSOH8
— MaisyMooCow (@MaisyMooCow) December 2, 2018