A SEAGULL has died after it was allegedly shot at with a slingshot by a group of youths in Poole.

A resident in Sixpenny Close, and her young daughter, witnessed the bird being shot before the group reportedly fled from the scene.

Neighbour, Andrew Ainsworth, saw the distressed pair a short while after the incident at 3.30pm on Sunday, March 10.

Andrew’s partner brought a box to carry the injured seagull while another neighbour drove it to a wildlife rescue centre in Ringwood.

However, the bird died from its injuries overnight.

“I was just looking for information on how to help on behalf of my neighbour, it was her who ended up taking it in and witnessed said incident,” said Andrew.

He added: “Our neighbours daughter saw a group of youths shoot it with a slingshot and run off , the young girl was very upset over the whole thing.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “Shocking catapult attacks against animals are very distressing and unspeakably cruel. It is totally unacceptable - and also illegal - to shoot animals for ‘fun’ or as target practice.

“We think of ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, and we know most people will be shocked to think wildlife could be targeted in this way.

“But, sadly, the RSPCA’s experience shows that there are also people out there who are deliberately targeting wildlife, pets and farm animals with not just catapults - but guns and even crossbows.

“These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering.

“All wild birds, including gulls, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take them except under licence.

“The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

“To report cruelty to an animal, and help us protect wildlife, please visit the RSPCA’s website.”