A 16 October 2009 report in the Bridgenorth Journal described how a much-loved family dog was shot by a gamekeeper when he was alleged to be worrying game birds. According to the owner, the West Mercia police took no action and justified the shooting as the protection of ‘livestock’.
Released game birds are not livestock. They are classed as wild game by the law and, perversely, that allows them to be killed and wounded for ‘sport’. Protected animals (those who are under the care of man) may not be subjected to the same unnecessary cruelty under the terms of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.
Supporters will already know that the game birds are not the only creatures to suffer as a result of this cruel activity. Millions of other wild animals, labelled as vermin by gamekeepers, are persecuted both legally and illegally.
But we also want to highlight the plight of companion animals who get in the way of rearing and releasing game for so called ‘sport’. We also want to learn of incidents where the police have failed to take appropriate action or made unusual interpretations of law.
Readers are requested to contact Animal Aid with information about dogs, cats and other family animals who are shot, snared, poisoned or caught in traps. Your account should include the date and place the incident occurred, as well as your name and telephone number, which will remain confidential unless permission to disclose is given. Photographs and veterinary opinion are also valuable as supporting evidence. Please contact Animal Aid (firstname.lastname@example.org) using the subject title: ‘pets and shooting’.