A FARMER has been shocked by the cruelty of a shooting which left several of his calves injured – one of which had to be destroyed to put it out of its misery. 

The Simmental cattle were targeted with an air weapon at a farm in Station Town, near Wingate, County Durham, on Saturday - including a bull which was hit in the testicles. 

Five calves still have pellets embedded in their heads, despite a vet’s best efforts to remove them. 

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The Northern Echo:

SHOT: One of the calves which was shot in the head. Picture: GAVIN ENGELBRECHT

Graham Kenny, 54, told The Northern Echo today: “It is so disheartening. The sheer cruelty of it is what gets to you more than anything. 

“We also had a bull we bought just two weeks ago and that was shot in the testicles. We are shocked at the cruelty of it all.” 

Mr Kenny said his wife Carol made the horrific discovery when she noticed a three-month-old heifer lying in its side in the middle of a field at about 3pm on Saturday.

He said: “The rest of the herd were looking pretty disturbed. 
“When we checked the heifer, we saw it had an entry wound between its eyes. It was twitching and in a pretty bad state. 

“We managed to get it on its feet, but it looked as if (a pellet) had got into its brain and it was really suffering.” 

An emergency vet decided there was nothing that could be done to save it, so the animal was destroyed. 

Mr Kenny added: “I had a job consoling my wife, because we have bred these animals and been up all night at times calving them. You put your heart and soul into it. So it is really shocking. 

“When we looked further we found another six calves had entry wounds in their head. It looked as though they had been shot at point blank range.

“The breed are known for being very friendly they would probably come to the gate making themselves an easy target.”

Mrs Kenny added: “They were standing in the field waiting to get out, because they had eaten the grass off. It was a lovely summer’s day, nothing to be worried about.

“We’ve got a cow that’s gone ballistic, because it can’t find it’s calf. They are mothers. How would you feel if you lost a baby?” 

Mr Kenny said a vet had managed to remove a pellet from the bull, but had been unable to retrieve pellets embedded in the skulls of five of the calves - afraid if he went any deeper they could go into the animal’s brains and kill them. 

Police confirmed they had arrested a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of causing criminal damage and animal cruelty.

He was later released under investigation.

They are also looking for two other youths they wishe to speak to in connection with the offence.

Inspector Lee Blakelock said: “This is a shocking incident.

“Several animals have been injured with one fatally after being shot in the head with what is believed to be an air weapon."

A spokesman for Farm Watcher UK, which represents farmers and landowners, said: “Landowners in and around the Station Town and Trimdon areas of the county are asked to remain vigilant, advised not to approach any persons who may have accessed land without permission and to report any suspicious activity immediately”.

  • Anyone with information about the offence is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101 quoting incident number 385 of July 15, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.