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Police shot animals 26 times since 2010
POLICE have used handguns and rifles to shoot dangerous and injured animals in North Yorkshire 26 times in the last three years.
Incidents where North Yorkshire Police officers have drawn weapons either to ensure public safety or to put down an animal for humane reasons have been revealed through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
The force was asked to provide details of all occasions since January 2010 where firearms were discharged, not including Tasers or baton rounds.
The results showing they had been used 27 times since then, with a total of 53 shots fired.
Five animal incidents involved use of firearms in 2010, including the killing of two wild horses by marksmen at Dunnington, just outside York, in September, amid fears they would put drivers in danger on the nearby A1079.
The FOI response said 20 rifle shots were fired that day by two armed officers, with 18 being aimed at one of the animals alone, after “numerous attempts to capture the horses were unsuccessful”.
Following the incident Chief Superintendent Andy McMillan, North Yorkshire Police’s director of specialist operations, said lessons should be learned from the incident after complaints were made by residents.
Weapons were used to shoot animals 17 times in 2011, including a bull on railway tracks near Boroughbridge which charged at rail staff, and a six-month-old heifer which escaped from a farm and ran along the A63 near Monk Fryston, in Selby district.
There have also been four incidents so far in 2012, with five shots from rifles and a handgun used to kill a dog which attacked its owner in York in January.
The only incident which did not involve an animal came in September last year, when a shot was accidentally fired from a rifle into the loading bay of the force’s armoury as an armed response crew loaded weapons. No one was injured and no damage was caused.