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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 11:43 GMT
Youth gangs slaughter urban deer
A dead roe deer (picture from the SSPCA)
This roe deer was hunted and killed by youths in Glasgow
"Growing bloodlust" among teenage gangs has led to attacks with airguns and packs of dogs on deer in urban areas.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) said there were 14 reported incidents in the Greater Glasgow area last year.

In one case, a roe deer was chased by teenagers and dogs in Knightswood. It was shot and then kicked to death.

Doreen Graham, of the SSPCA, said: "This isn't about sport or gambling. This is a growing bloodlust."

The SSPCA said the public who witness attacks on deer are often too scared to call police because of the brutality involved.

'Deeply worrying'

The majority of cases are said to take place in the Knightswood and Millerston areas of Glasgow.

In one incident in Millerston, a man awoke to find the body of a young deer hanging from his washing line. The animal's throat had been cut.

Four deer were killed in the Millerston area last year.

Ms Graham said: "We are receiving regular calls concerning the illegal coursing of deer across the west coast in and around Glasgow.

"More and more, the perpetrators seem to be in their late-teens, which is a deeply worrying trend."

She added: "Unfortunately, trying to catch these people is very, very difficult. We have to find them in the act of killing the deer, and their activities take place in the early hours of the morning."

The SSPCA and police warned those capable of such violence are also capable of turning their brutality on humans.

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