A NATIONAL animal welfare charity has called for tighter controls on air weapons following a spate of animal attacks across Dorset.

The RSPCA have condemned the recent animal attacks in the conurbation, which included a cat being shot in the eye with a slingshot.

The charity have also called for more education on the laws surrounding then use of air guns and similar weapons in the hope of reducing such incidents.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "Shockingly every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenceless victims of air gun attacks - let alone other acts of cruelty against animals.

"Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.

"We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.

“These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering, and it is illegal. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act."

The national charity has also reiterated the importance in reporting such incidents.

Dorset residents who witness an incident taking place are advised to call the police as well as the RSPCA’s cruelty line.

The spokesman added: “Witnessing an act of cruelty against an animal is a very distressing and upsetting situation to find yourself in and it can be difficult to know what to do.

“Our advice would be to make a mental note of the location and time and a description of the person if possible and report this to the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

“The call taker will then be able to give you further advice and talk through the information they need. This may then be tasked to an inspector to look into.

“Any further advice would largely depend on the individual situation. If a rapid response is required contact the police on 999, depending on the seriousness of the incident. A call to the RSPCA should then be made.

“Our resources are limited so the police would normally be able to respond much more quickly if the allegation is of a serious nature. Make sure you assess the situation and do not jeopardise your own safety.”