Belfast Telegraph

Swan found dead after being shot with arrow in face - PSNI probe underway

USPCA puts forward a £500 reward for information

By Claire Williamson

A swan has been found dead after it was shot with an arrow in the face.

The PSNI were at the scene on the Antrim Loughshore on Monday night along with a vet but the swan had gone into open water and could not be safely retrieved.

The rescue operation was resumed on Tuesday morning with the PSNI, the USPCA and Debbie Doolittle's Wild Life attempting to rescue the bird.

The USPCA confirmed later on Tuesday morning that the bird had been found dead.

The USPCA said a crossbow bolt was fired at "very close range" and struck the bird between the eyes.

It said the bird succumbed to a "lingering death with unimaginable suffering". It has put forward a reward of £500 for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible.

USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan said: “Feeding these swans is a popular family pastime; they are therefore trusting of humans. The low life that derived perverted pleasure from committing this appalling act must be found.

"The USPCA is putting forward a reward of £500 for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible. Please contact PSNI directly, call the USPCA on 028 3025 1000 or email enquiries@uspca.co.uk and we will relay your suspicions to the relevant authority.”

Michelle Hill conservation team leader at RSPB NI said: "The deliberate targeting of wildlife is a crime and is to be strongly condemned.

"If anyone has any information on this or any similar incidents, we would encourage them to contact the PSNI by calling 101 and report it as a wildlife crime.”

Debbie Nelson from Debbie Doolittle Wild Life said if anyone has information they need to contact the PSNI.

She said: "It's just so sad that we couldn't find her sooner.

"This is just a simple case of wildlife cruelty and if anyone knows who was involved they need to contact the Antrim PSNI.

"Someone is walking around with a crossbow. If they'll do this to a defenseless animal who or what is next?"

Alliance councillor Neil Kelly said he was "appalled" and called the attack "disgusting".

He said: “It is disgusting someone would apparently attack a defenceless animal and in such a way. Anyone who would do so is clearly a dangerous individual.

“The seeming use of such a serious weapon as a crossbow lends this incident an even more sinister edge. This vile brutality towards animals should have no place in a decent society and it’s difficult to comprehend the mind of someone who would willingly partake in such behaviour.

“I would encourage anyone who has information on this incident to report it to police immediately so the perpetrator can hopefully be stopped from carrying out any further similar incidents.”

UUP councillor Jim Montgomery praised those who tried to help.

He said: “I utterly condemn this attack which has naturally repulsed the wider community. I would like to praise those who tried to help the injured swan, but who were unable to save it. 

“Quite frankly it is impossible to understand the mentality of an individual whose mind is so warped as to commit such a sickening attack and take some form of pleasure in inflicting suffering on a defenceless creature. 

“There is also the issue that someone with this warped mind has access to a crossbow and is prepared to use it in such a cowardly and cold-blooded manner.

“It is extremely important that the person responsible is caught and brought before the courts and given a sentence that reflects public outrage and disgust. I encourage anybody who knows anything about this incident to contact the PSNI."

Police in Antrim are appealing for information.

Sergeant Neil Patton: said: “Shortly before 8:30pm, police received a report about an injured swan that had an arrow lodged in its head.

"Police attended the scene along with a local vet, but were unable to capture the bird. The swan was found dead by a member of the public this morning in the Lough Road area.

"Enquiries are continuing and we are appealing to anyone who was in the Lough Road area yesterday evening and may have witnessed this incident, or who has any information about this incident, to contact police in Antrim on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1333 of 11/12/17.

"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

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