RSPCA wants the guns licensed.
Nationally, the charity recieved 767 reports of animals being shot last year. 64 of those were in the South West.
The records also show that pet cats bore the brunt of the shootings with 258 incidents with pigeons coming second with 112 incidents.
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. We believe air gun misuse is happening on a large scale and what we see at the RSPCA could be the tip of the iceberg. We believe that stricter controls are long overdue. 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.”
We have contacted the Home Office for a response.