Hares found shot and dumped on Langport road

Dead hare Image copyright Somerset Wildlife Crime
Image caption The hares were found near Langport by a passerby

Nine hares have been found shot and dumped along a roadside in Somerset.

The animal welfare group Somerset Wildlife Crime said the animals were discovered on the A372 between Aller and Langport on Friday.

Founder of the group Bobbie Armstrong said: "It is always very difficult to understand the mentality of anybody who would needlessly kill anything."

The group said the police had been informed. The BBC has contacted Avon and Somerset police for comment.

'Unnecessary suffering'

Ms Armstrong added: "It's an injury to the hindquarters - I would not say it was a painless death.

"This is probably an animal that endured unnecessary suffering and died as a result of that."

The animals had been placed along the road at six-foot (1.8m) intervals.

She also believed there was a possible link to hare-coursing.

"Landowners have been shooting hares in order to prevent hare coursers from trespassing on their land," Ms Armstrong said.

"To look at this from my point of view that would be my immediate suspicion - it's been done by a landowner who's left a very clear message to any hare coursers in that area that there's no hares to course on his land."

The picture, posted on social media, has provoked outrage and upset.

"Lots of people are really quite distressed to see such a wanton needless slaughter of our hares. People have a real fondness for them," Ms Armstrong said.

"They don't any damage - it's quite upsetting to see nine brown hares dumped on the side of the road when they are in decline."

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