A group of 35 geese were gunned down and then dumped at land in Raploch
Kevin Robertson and Robert McPake made the grisly discovery
Thirty five geese have been discovered shot dead and their bodies dumped on the banks of the River Forth in Stirling.
The rotting carcases of almost three dozen pink-footed geese, which spend Winter in the UK, were left on a stretch of the riverbank in Woodside Road, in the Kildean area.
Police were called after local discovered the carnage, and Stirling Council’s animal welfare officers are investigating.
Although it is not illegal for hunters to shoot geese for the table, it is against the law to sell them.
Speculation is rife that someone has killed the birds with the intention of selling them before Christmas - but dumped them after discovering this would not be possible. Fourteen-year-olds Kevin Robertson and Robert McPake, students at Wallace High School, discovered the birds when out walking Kevin’s dog last Sunday afternoon. Kevin, of Woodside Road,
called the police, who in turn contacted animal welfare officers.
He said: “From the path we saw a white plantpot with a dead bird next to it, so I jumped over the fence to check it out.
“There were dead birds everywhere, some of them down the riverbank and a few in the water.
“It was about 3.40pm so I dialled 101 and reported it to the police. They came out just after 5pm and we showed them where to look.
“They said they’d speak to animal welfare and get somebody out.
“I keep pigeons, and to think of someone slaughtering so many birds in one go - and for absolutely nothing - is just disgusting.
Robert, of Beatty Avenue, added: “The smell was terrible. It was like ammonia.
“Some of the heads were missing and they were full of blood.
“There’s still feathers scattered everywhere at the same place now, and a black bin bag full of bones.”
Local resident William McKenna, pictured, helped police search along the riverbank to see how many dead birds had been dumped. They found 35 in total.
Mr McKenna, 41, a roofer, said: “The bodies were scattered everywhere. It was weird to see so many of them, just dumped there.
“Why would somebody do something like that? It’s beyond me. What a total waste of life.”
Another local resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The guys at the pigeon sheds, who do a bit of hunting, are really mad about this. It gives hunters a bad name.
“And in this day and age, when people are starving and relying on foodbanks, we just don’t understand why they didn’t bring the birds to the local pub and give them away. Lots of people around here would have taken them off their hands and cooked them for their families.”
A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “Our Animal Health and Welfare Team is investigating after the discovery of wild geese carcasses near Woodside Road, Raploch.
“Police Scotland and the Animal Plant and Health Laboratories have been alerted, as is standard in these situations.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “After initial investigations, it was found that no law has been broken, as pink-footed geese are not a protected species.”
But Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: “While pink-footed geese are common winter visitors to the lowlands of east and central Scotland, and are a legitimate quarry species, I’m sure the news of these carcasses being dumped will appal the vast majority of our wildfowling community.
“Responsible shooters will only kill what they can eat, and incidents such as this threaten to bring that sport into disrepute.”