Police are hunting a callous thug who shot this pigeon at point-blank range – with a bow and arrow.
The bird is thought to have been lured to its death with the promise of food before it was harpooned with a wooden Medieval-style weapon.
It was found bleeding by a member of the public but had to be put down by vets because removing the spear would have caused fatal injuries.
Vets described the attack, in Lewes, East Sussex, as “unpleasant and sinister”.
Carrie Grace, founder of Seahaven Animal Rescue which was called to rescue the bird, said the angle of entry suggested the arrow had been fired at close range.
Condemning its killer as “sick”, she said: “It had probably been lured by food. The pigeon was x-rayed.
“Unfortunately the dart had gone straight through his abdomen and the removal of the dart would have caused him to bleed to death so he had to be put to sleep.
“We are so upset and angry that someone would do this. The vets were also shocked.
“The vets removed the arrow and we have kept it to pass onto the police.
“I really hope they catch the sick person that did this. You just don’t expect this. It’s horrendous and disgusting.
“You also have to question why a person was walking around with a bow and arrow.”
Carrie was called to the bird after it was found at the back of a Tesco by a member of the public on Sunday (9/6) evening.
A spokesman for Grove Lodge Vets, in Worthing, West Sussex, which dealt with the bird once it was rescued, said: “This was unpleasant and sinister.
“Even with the expertise of our highly skilled surgical team, it was impossible to do anything for this unfortunate bird except put it to sleep as the arrow had passed completely through its abdomen.
“Removal of the arrow was impossible as the injuries were far too severe.”
Now animal rights campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is offering a reward of up to #1,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.
PC Pete Hall, wildlife liaison officer, said: “The bird was found in a park usually very busy with families and which is used as a main route into town.
“I would have expected calls from the public if they had seen the bird or someone armed with a bow and arrow.
“It could be that the bird had managed to fly some way from where it had been shot.
“What is certain is that seeing this bird suffering was distressing and that this was a particularly cruel act.
“Not only that but whoever shot the bird could have could have put the safety of others at risk.”