Two foxes have died and one has been injured after being shot with a crossbow in London.
A £2,000 reward has been offered to help catch the people responsible after the foxes were attacked in Blackheath in the south east of the city.
One of the animals was found dead, another bled to death over several days and a third was seen with an arrow protruding from its stomach after being shot last week.
A police investigation has been launched and the Fox Project, based in Kent, has offered the money for information.
The charity called the incidents ‘disturbing on many levels’. A spokesman said: ‘In the past few days, three foxes have been shot with a crossbow in the area of Parkgate, London SE3.
‘The first was found dead by a local householder and…the second (was) a young dog fox shot through the back at such close range that the arrow was protruding from the stomach.
‘The incompetence of the culprit meant the animal was not killed immediately, but was moving around in pain and distress, gradually weakening from blood loss for several days before our rescue team was able to get close enough to capture it.
‘By then, it was too late, and we had no choice but to call it a day – although, at least, the pain was over.’
Police were contacted on Thursday after a passer-by spotted a fox with an arrow sticking out of its back.
Volunteers from the Fox Project were called and took the animal back to its base but it couldn’t be saved. Another fox had previously been found dead in the same area and a third is reported to have been seen at the same location with an arrow in its body.
There have been reports that a fourth fox has been seen with an arrow embedded in its side and the volunteer team is hopeful they can still find and save the animal.
Fox Project founder Trevor Williams, said: ‘Every year we treat more than 1,000 foxes at our specialist rescue centre but this is a truly shocking case.
‘It’s hard to understand that there is a small minority of people in society who are capable of such extreme cruelty to animals.’
It is against the law under section 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to kill a wild animal using a bow or crossbow.
Conchi Gago, from the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit, said: ‘It’s absolutely shocking that two animals have died in such awful circumstances.
‘It is obvious that whoever did this did so deliberately and it is disturbing to think that someone would intend to injure and kill a wild animal.’
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