A Somerset wildlife rescue has issued a strong warning about the danger of air guns after a pigeon was shot and seriously injured in Weston-super-Mare.
Staff at Secret World Wildlife Rescue, in East Huntspill, were left shocked and angry after they were forced to put down a pigeon which had been shot with an air gun on Remembrance Sunday (November 11).
When the pigeon arrived at the animal rescue centre, Sarah Tingvoll, Section Leader at Secret World, successfully removed the metal pellet from the bird’s wing, but made the tough decision to put the bird to sleep to prevent any further suffering.
“This is a very sad story but putting the bird to sleep was the right thing to do for its welfare,” Sarah said.
“We know most gun owners use their guns in a responsible way, but this horrific case should serve as a permanent reminder that the consequences of using a pellet or air gun irresponsibly can be deadly.”
Carrier pigeons played an important role in World War I and World War II and were used to send messages from the battlefield thanks to their speed, flying altitude and ability to make their way home.
Sarah added: “The fact that this bird fell victim to a gun shot on Remembrance Day makes this story even more heartbreaking and poignant.
“Carrier pigeons played a pivotal role in both world wars and their role is often overlooked.”
After World War II, 32 pigeons were awarded with the Dickin Medal – a medal used to honour the work of war animals.
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