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Swan shot with crossbow has operation to help it breathe

Injured swan
Image caption A vet has fitted a valve in the bird's side to help it breathe

A swan shot twice with a crossbow and several times with an air rifle has had an operation to help it breathe.

The "distressed" bird was found with crossbow bolts in its head and neck on Wednesday at St Helens Canal, Widnes.

One of the crossbow bolts hit the swan's windpipe and a vet has now inserted a valve in the bird's side through which it can breathe.

The RSPCA said the bird is now feeding but is still in danger from infection and its damaged windpipe.

Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption The swan was hit with two crossbow bolts

Bev Panto, an RSPCA veterinary officer, said: "It's absolutely incredible he survived, if that crossbow bolt in his head had been a couple of millimetres further in it would have gone into the brain.

"He's very lucky, if you can call it lucky, that he's still with us."

Cheshire Police are appealing for people to "search their conscience" and come forward if they have any information about who carried out the attack.

Supt Martin Cleworth said: "They'll have been talking to people, possibly even bragging, telling people where they went and what they've done."

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