A CHARITY is calling for the licensing of air guns after 97 animal shootings were reported in the North West last year.

The RSPCA is highlighting the need for new legislation as figures reveal that the animal charity received 7,671 reports of animals being shot in 2018 across England and Wales, with 97 of these reports coming from the North West alone.

The RSPCA’s records also showed that pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings with 258 incidents in 2018 with pigeons coming second with 112 incidents.

Dermot Murphy, the RSPCA's Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “During last year alone, we received 767 reports of attacks where air guns were used on animals across England and Wales.

“Behind every one of the 258 pet cats and 73 dogs deliberately killed or maimed last year by using air guns is a devastated family.”