A SWAN who was left with an arrow embedded in her neck after an attack in Poole Park has been released back into the water by the RSPCA.

She was one of two swans who was rescued from the water on Monday, September 21 after being found with severe injuries caused by the shooting.

One of the two sadly died and a third swan was killed in the same park on October 6.

Following this attack, the swan was rehabilitated by the RSPCA before being released back into the water at Poole Park.

RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey, who released the swan back into the water, said: "The shooting of these innocent birds was entirely cruel and completely unnecessary. Why anyone would think shooting any animals like this was either fun, or acceptable, is completely beyond me. Poole Park is a hugely popular place for people and birds alike and I know these incidents have caused upset and anger amongst the many people.

"I'm extremely grateful to the staff at Vets4Pets Holes Bay for their immediate help with removing the arrow and also to the staff at RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre who cared for the swan during her recovery. A brilliant team effort to ensure this beautiful bird could be released back into the wild.

"All wild birds, including swans, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to kill, injure or take them without a licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine."

Dorset Police are investigating the shootings and have an open crime reference: 55200142189.

The animal welfare charity is asking for anyone with information to contact the Police on 101, or to call the charity on their cruelty line 0300 1234 999.