AN ANIMAL shelter is looking after a wounded heron which staff say might have been shot by a pond owner.
Staff at the RSPCA’s Stubbington Ark were called to collect the injured bird from a veterinary clinic in Waterlooville.
It was treated and transferred to the wildlife unit at the Ark, in Ranvilles Lane, Stubbington, on Wednesday.
Staff think the heron may have been shot by a frustrated pond owner whose goldfish had been eaten by the bird.
Ark manager Mike Ward said: ‘On arrival it was clear the bird had been deliberately shot.
‘Unfortunately we do not know who found the bird so we do not know where it was found to release it back to the wild.
‘However the bird gave a clue as to why the callous act took place.
‘Under treatment he brought up a goldfish, but recovered enough to retrieve it and swallow it again.
‘We presume the owner of the pond from which the meal was scavenged was the guilty marksman.’
An RSPCA inspector was called to the PDSA veterinary clinic in Waterlooville after a member of public brought the bird to them.
A number of pellets were lodged deep within the bird’s body.
An RSPCA vet gave the heron pain relief and antibiotics to keep it stable.
It will be given an X-ray today to help decide whether the pellets should be left in place or removed through surgery.
Mr Ward added: ‘It was a bit of a drastic action we think but the bird was responding to treatment, quite alert and will hopefully be having a few more free meals here before release.
‘The pellets are deeply lodged so vet Caroline Loach decided to administer pain relief and antibiotics rather than cause further trauma with a difficult operation.’
It is illegal to kill herons.