Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
Leatherhead wildlife charity wants to offer bounty to solve crimes against animals
A wildlife charity wants to offer a bounty for witnesses who give evidence against people who inflict cruelty on animals.
The Leatherhead-based Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) has come up with the idea of offering a reward to encourage witnesses to come forward after several brutal unsolved attacks in recent months.
The charity is now calling on individuals and community groups to get in touch if they would be prepared contribute to a fund to do this.
Simon Cowell, WAF founder and presenter of TV's Wildlife SOS, said he had the idea after a cygnet was recently beaten to death in Bookham but a witness did not want to pursue the case.
Mr Cowell said: "I think it’s really sad that people do not come forward on this sort of thing.
"It’s important that people do their duty and if it takes offering a financial reward to do it then that’s what we’re going to have to do. The present generation seem to be getting more animal unfriendly."
Mr Cowell highlighted the shooting with airguns of more than 50 doves in a dovecote in August.
He hopes the scheme, which is similar to rewards offered by Crimestoppers for information about crime against people, would foster people to take collective responsibility for the welfare of animals in their area in the way Neighbourhood Watch does for people.
Mr Cowell said: "We would need to get a fund together to be able to offer financial rewards for people who see misdeeds.
"It’s very much at the inception stage. We want people who do care, want to make a difference and will put money toward the fighting fund."
He said that nowadays it was easy to take photographs and videos on mobile phones but witnesses should keep their distance and out of danger.
He said: "We have got to take responsibility for our wildlife."
WAF works to rescue, cares for and rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wild animals. The charity's veterinary hospital in Leatherhead deals with more than 20,000 wildlife emergencies every year.
If you would be prepared to contribute to a reward scheme email email@example.com.
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