A woman in East Dulwich contacted the police, after she witnessed shots being fired at an urban fox.
The incident, which she said took place on Overhill Road, was investigated by police but no arrests have been made – and it is unknown if the animal was injured.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with the News, said that at about 2am, on July 1, she heard ‘lots of pinging hitting the railings and lamp posts, at first I could not see anything, then I saw a dark car sliding downhill, with no engine, in the middle of the road.”
That was when she noticed a small fox running away and down a nearby alley. Once it had escaped, the car drove off.
A spokesperson for the Met said it received an online report at about 10:25hrs on Monday, 2 July in relation to shots being fired in the area of Overhill Road, SE22.
“It was reported that shots were being fired, possibly from an air rifle, from people inside a car at a fox.
No injuries were reported. No arrests have been made.
“The investigation has been closed but will be re-opened if further information comes to light.”
Police have confirmed they are not treating the incident as linked with the ‘Croydon Cat Killer’.
Trevor Williams, founder of the Fox Project, said the public should report any similar incidents of animal cruelty to the police, and warned that the public should remain vigilant as the Croydon Cat Killer, who has so far evaded justice, has reportedly attacked foxes as well as cats.
The Fox Project is a charity which runs a wildlife ambulance service to treat sick, injured and abandoned foxes and cubs, across south-east London and parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
Mr Williams told the News: “Thankfully incidents like this are not too common, but we have had some animals shot by air rifles and also crossbows.
“This year we had a cub shot in the head – who fortunately survived.
“You never know who is behind it and what other crimes they may be linked with – so always report cases like this to the police.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We are very concerned to hear that people were taking shots at a fox in East Dulwich and we’d like to remind the public that it is illegal to deliberately use an airgun to injure an animal.
“This incident was reported to the RSPCA but we need more information to be able to properly investigate this and we would urge anyone with information to get in touch with us.
“Unfortunately, wild animals and cats are often the victims of cruel and callous airgun attacks. Over the past five years the RSPCA received 4,500 calls about attacks on animals using these weapons. That’s why we’re calling for mandatory licensing of airguns in England & Wales.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Tweet @MetCC.
Information can also be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.