Hedgehog put down after being shot by air gun

Hedgehog shot Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The RSPCA said the hedgehog had a "severely damaged" spinal cord

A hedgehog that was shot at "point blank range" with an air gun in an "unthinkable" attack has been put down.

The animal was found dragging her paralysed rear legs behind her in South Lynn, Norfolk.

Alison Charles, manager of RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, said a pellet was lodged in the female's spine.

"Sadly there was nothing our vet could do to save her and she was suffering so much the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep," she said.

Image copyright RSCPA
Image caption An X-ray showed the pellet was embedded in the hedgehog's spine

Ms Charles said the "unthinkable" attack, which happened on Sunday, had been carried out at close range.

"Who would shoot a hedgehog? This poor girl must have been in so much pain," she said.

"It is very distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals."

The RSPCA is investigating the shooting and has appealed for witnesses to come forward.

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