RSPCA says dozens of pet cats and dogs were shot in the North West in 2018
The RSPCA released figures that show how many dogs, cats, and other animals were shot by people in Lancashire in 2018.
The animal charity has called for new restrictions air guns, as new figures reveal that it received 767 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales.
In the North West alone, the RSPCA had almost 100 reports of animal shootings over the same 12 months.
Dermot Murphy, RSPCA Chief Inspectorate Officer said: “"Animals are suffering horrendous injuries and often dying as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are also potentially extremely dangerous for people.
“Every one of the 258 pet cats and 73 dogs deliberately killed or maimed last year by people using air guns represents a devastated family.
"And the cruelty continues, with large numbers of wild mammals and birds, including foxes, squirrels, swans, gulls and pigeons targeted as well."
The RSPCA received 97 calls about animals being shot with air guns in the North West, 36 of them coming from Greater Manchester - the second highest rate in the country.
In Lancashire and Cheshire there were 19 cases each, and in Merseyside there were 18.
Pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings across the UK, with 258 incidents in 2018. Pigeons came second with 112, and pet dogs third with 73.
As well as mandatory licencing, the RSPCA is calling for a range of measures to tackle the problem of air guns.
A spokesman for the charity said: “Mandatory licensing would be an effective start, but we also need improved enforcement of airgun legislation as well as better, more targeted education and explanation of the law for those buying one.”