Bags of dead animals found near Stubbington Ark animal shelter

TARGET Blackbirds are among the species at risk of being shot
TARGET Blackbirds are among the species at risk of being shot
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HUNTERS have been dumping bags of animal corpses next to an RSPCA shelter after shooting wildlife on nearby farmland.

Black bin liners filled with rotting rabbits and garden birds have been discovered in Ranvilles Lane – next to the RSPCA Stubbington Ark animal shelter.

Hunters usually take dead animals with them or leave the creatures where they are killed.

But staff at the Ark are stunned that bags of dead wildlife keep being left close to the shelter after hunts on nearby fields.

The farm’s owners say hunters appear to be shooting on their land without their consent.

Mike Ward, manager of the Ark, which looks after 500 at-risk animals, said: ‘It sounds like World War One here on some Sundays. We hear lots of gunfire then later on our dog walkers find these bin liners full of dead animals. It’s insensitive.

‘We found the first bag in July and now it seems to be most weekends.

‘We’re talking about big black bin bags filled to the brim in the lane, tied up and putrefying by the side of the road.

‘Apart from the fact that I’d rather these people did not kill innocent creatures, there is an environmental health implication of dumping bags of decaying animals in a public place.’

It is thought the hunters are taking part in ‘rough shooting’ – a legally recognised practice whereby dogs are sent into hedgerows, woods or other cover to flush out wildlife – with virtually any creature which rushes out being fair game for shooters.

Mr Ward said: ‘While the practice is justified in ridding farmers of pests, there does not appear to be any crop at risk there and many innocent species are suffering for what is really a bit of fun on a Sunday.’

The farmland’s owner John Seale Ltd which hires contractors to work the land, told The News it was unaware of the problem and had not allowed anyone to shoot in fields at the Stubbington site.

Nicola Seale said: ‘We have not given permission for anyone to hunt or shoot down there and had we done so I certainly would not give permission to people who would behave in that manner.’

As the unauthorised hunting had not yet been reported to police, Hampshire Constabulary was unable to begin an investigation, a spokesman said.

If it was reported to police, there could be a probe into issues around trespass, poaching and firearms offences.