Officers from Kent Police's Rural Task Force are appealing for information after a barn owl was shot and killed in Leysdown.
The wild animal was taken to a rescue sanctuary on Tuesday (10th April) evening at around 7.30pm after a man and a woman reported finding the bird injured.
The animal had been shot through the chest with what was believed to be an air weapon and died the following day.
Officers would like to talk to the man and woman who found the bird as they believe they may have information which may assist them.
Police Sergeant Darren Walshaw, of the Rural Task Force, told SFM News: "Injuring any animal on purpose is a despicable crime and one that we will not take lightly. We work hard to ensure our rural communities are free of crime and feel safe and that as well as people, this includes the welfare of both domestic and wild animals. After surviving through the winter, this young owl suffered an awful injury at the hands of a person and would have been in a lot of pain. We do not want to see another animal injured and I would encourage anyone who knows anything about this incident to get in touch with us."
The man and woman are both described as in their 20's white and the man was believed to be wearing a hooded top.
Anyone with information about the incident, or who believes they know the people who took the bird to the sanctuary, is asked to call Kent Police appeals line on 01795 419 119 quoting reference 11-0844.
Or alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111.