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Reporting Attacks

Targeting animals with a catapult is a crime. Here's how to report an attack.

Call 999

If you are witnessing a catapult attack on wildlife then this is a crime in progress, and we recommend calling 999 for the best chance of an immediate response. 

Call 101

You can also report wildlife crime via the non-emergency line on 101.  

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.

Report Online

Reports can be made via the online reporting form on the relevant police website:

 Metropolitan Police

Kent Police

Essex Police

What shall I include in my report?


Try to make a note of:


  • The exact location where the attack took place.

  • The approximate time in which the attack occurred.

  • The number of perpetrators, their approximate age, gender, height and ethnicity, and their clothing.

  • The weapon they appeared to be using.

  • The impact on the animal(s) targeted - did they appear injured?

  • Note any vehicle registration numbers, make, model, and colour.

  • Whether there are any other witnesses - obtain their name(s) and contact details to include in your report. 

  • Take photos and/or video of the perpetrators only if it is safe to do so, and of anything else relevant to the attack.

  • Request a CAD number and record this to refer back to if you need to make any further contact with the police.


You can also make a report to the RSPCA.


If an animal has been harmed -


If you suspect that an animal is hurt or seriously injured as the result of a catapult attack, it is important to get in touch with your local wildlife rescue organisation ASAP. Try to keep the animal in sight if possible whilst you contact relevant organisations.

For London: the Swan Sanctuary, Swan Support, South Essex Wildlife Hospital, the Greenwich Wildlife Network (SE London only), London Wildlife Protection, Fox Angels Foundation (foxes only).


For Kent: Folly Wildlife Rescue, Kent Wildlife Rescue Service, The Fox Project (foxes only), Swale Wildlife Rescue, Dartford Animal Rescue.


For Essex: South Essex Wildlife Hospital, Maldon Wildlife Rescue.


Visit for a directory of wildlife rescue organisations across the UK.


You can also contact the RSPCA. 


Photo by Paul Elliott, Respected Photography London.

Which laws are the perpetrators breaking?


It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to deliberately kill, injure or take any wild bird or their nest.


All wild birds and their nests are protected under this legislation. This includes so-called ‘pest’ species such as gulls and pigeons. Some people mistakenly believe these birds are ‘classed as vermin’ and therefore not protected - this is not the case. 


It is also an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to commit any act that “causes an animal to suffer”, if the suffering is “unnecessary”. 


What if the police don’t take me seriously?


Members of the public are sometimes reluctant to make police reports when the victim is an animal, as they fear they won’t be taken seriously or that they will be accused of wasting police time.


Unfortunately, we have even heard feedback from the public that police call handlers have incorrectly advised them that deliberately targeting animals with catapults does not constitute an offence.

If you experience this when attempting to report a catapult or other type of wildlife crime, then we suggest the following;


  • Stay firm - insist that your report is recorded and request a CAD number.

  • Cite the Countryside and Wildlife Act and the Animal Welfare Act - it is an offence to cause unnecessary harm or suffering to wild birds/animals under these acts (see above for more details). Even so called ‘pest’ species have protection under these legislations.

  • Ask that your report be forwarded to the team responsible for investigating wildlife crime. 


Unfortunately, the current format of online police reports is not well suited to reporting crimes against animals - for example, the form may ask you to describe the victim or ask for their contact details. Don’t be deterred by this, just complete the form as best you can.


"What’s the point? Nothing will be done anyway..."


We also regularly hear from the public that they don’t bother making police reports for catapult attacks or other wildlife crime that they’ve witnessed, as they feel nothing will be done. They may have made a report in the past and felt that there was little to no action taken against the perpetrator(s).


We understand this frustration and share it. We, too, are frustrated at the lack of resources devoted to tackling wildlife crime. 


However, the only way to demonstrate the sheer scale of this problem to the authorities is by reporting every single incident. We need to show local police forces that our communities care about attacks on wildlife and will not tolerate them.


You may feel that there is nothing to gain by making a report, but there is nothing to lose, either.

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