Hunt for killer who shot foxes in the head with an air rifle

NEWS AND OPINION: This story makes me want to puke. I am sick to death of this sort of disgusting animal cruelty particularly against foxes. I love foxes. I feed foxes. I love them and feed them because they are hated by many people. Someone needs to love them. They are vulnerable to hostile, ignorant humans. Their lives are difficult and short. They need our compassion and sensitivity.

X-ray of fox shot in the head with penetrator pellets from an air rifle
X-ray of fox shot in the head with penetrator pellets from an air rifle. Image: SEWH.

But clearly the person who perpetrated this gross animal cruelty completely lacks compassion and sensitivity. They appear to gain pleasure from shooting foxes in the head and spine with penetrative pellets from an air rifle resulting in the death of three foxes.

The staff at an animal hospital charity are so horrified that they have offered a £1,000 reward to anybody who can help find the perpetrator.

A veterinarian who arrived at the scene of the dead foxes was horrified. It happened in Basildon, Essex, UK last Thursday. A woman saw them. She was distressed. The foxes had been left near a “no dumping quotes sign.

A male and female fox were already dead. The third fox, another male, was euthanised due to spinal damage. They had been shot in the shoulder and back. The other foxes had been shot in the head multiple times.

South Essex Wildlife Hospital (SEWH) said that the foxes were in perfect health before they were repeatedly shot.

Sue Schwar, the founder and manager of SEWH said:

“The incident is pretty horrific. The mentality of someone who would shoot the foxes for fun and intentionally dumped them is baffling. Our issue is with the fox that was still alive and left to suffer. We know people cull foxes and there’s not much we can do to stop them, but there are restrictions to doing that. The right calibre rifle and suitable ammunition must be used to kill and not just maim.”

SEWH details the deaths on social media. They also said:

“The perpetrator was clearly an amateur or shooting for fun. Penetrator pellets were used and the gum was not powerful enough to kill humanely. You also require landowner permission to hunt and although we do not know where the foxes were killed, it is an animal welfare offence to leave an animal to suffer.”

Comment: I disagree with the above. I don’t believe you can shoot foxes with a rifle without causing pain no matter how effective it is because there must be at least a period of time when a fox shot with a rifle feels pain before they die unless the bullet goes into the brain. Perhaps under those circumstances you might say that the killing was humane.

However, I don’t think that argument stacks up because there must be at least a split second of excruciating and enormous pain before they die. Surely that must count as causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the UK.

About the gunmen, the charity said: “Animal abusers walk amongst us. They are tomorrow’s serial killers, taking the lives of our wildlife for fun.”

If this person is found they will hopefully be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (as amended) which would result, on conviction, of a maximum of a five year prison sentence and/or a £5,000 fine. There may be a further charge for discharging the air rifle.

Below are some more articles on foxes or click on the tag ‘foxes’.

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Post Category: Foxes