Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Rare bird shot and killed on farm

Chris Ottway with his remaining pet Rhea
Mr Ottway said his remaining pet bird is pining for its murdered mate

A rare bird, kept as a pet on a small-holding in Oxfordshire has been found shot dead in its enclosure.

Chris Ottaway bought a pair of South American Rhea, large flightless birds, several weeks ago but found one of them shot dead.

In June one of his guinea pigs was also shot and killed.

Both animals are rare and worth hundreds of pounds. Mr Ottaway said it was "horrible and unnecessary" as it was done just to harm them.

He said: "It was horrible - I was so upset.

'Animal suffering'

"It just made me so angry that someone would come here and do something so totally unnecessary.

"It wasn't to take them it was just purely to injure them and now I've got a bird pining for its mate and I'm desperately trying to find another one for it."

Mr Ottaway said he is now considering getting CCTV installed after the incident on Friday.

Douglas Davidson, an RSPCA inspector said that anyone caught shooting an animal in such circumstances could face six months in prison or a fine of up to 20,000.

"Causing suffering to an animal like this is just not on in the 21st century," he said.

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