AN act of ‘senseless cruelty’ has led the RSPCA to release x-rays of a peacock fatally wounded after being shot six times with an airgun in north Shropshire.

The bird was found with pellets lodged in his leg and several other areas following the shooting in the village of Hinstock, off the A41 between Whitchurch and Newport.  

RSPCA Animal rescue officer John Groarke attended the scene after the injured bird was found in a field in Hatton Road in January.


The peacock was rushed to the animal welfare charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Hospital in Cheshire for treatment where x-rays revealed an airgun pellet had completely shattered his left leg.

The shocked vet also found a further five bullets which had gone through the bird’s body in several places causing severe damage to muscles and tendons.

He was so severely injured the vet made the decision to put him to sleep on welfare grounds to prevent further suffering.

Anyone with information about the incident is being urged to contact the RSPCA.

“We were told that residents in this area had been keeping an eye on this beautiful bird for about eight years, and they were genuinely very upset to hear the shocking news,” said John.

“They loved to watch him fly into the fields near their properties and were very fond of his presence.

Whitchurch Herald:

“The person who reported the peacock to us suspected he was badly injured as his foot looked twisted and he was unable to walk.

“It’s a senseless and appalling act of cruelty and very upsetting for people who have got so much enjoyment from watching this bird grace their neighbourhood.” 

Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “From the amount of pellets we found, it's clear that someone has set out to intentionally kill this peacock rather than taking a quick pot shot, and unfortunately they succeeded.

“Our experience here at the centre shows there are people out there who are deliberately targeting wildlife, pets and farm animals with airguns.

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“The consequences can be devastating and what we hear about is probably only the tip of the iceberg as not all cases will be reported to us and there may be situations where animals injured and killed by these weapons are sadly never found, especially in the case of wildlife.”

Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.

People with first-hand information about the incident are urged to contact the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018 quoting reference number 01214986.