A baby fox has died after it was shot near a primary school.
The RSPCA animal charity is appealing for information after staff at Twydall Primary School, Gillingham, discovered the sick animal in its grounds.
RSPCA Inspector Kirsten Ormerod said: "This poor little juvenile fox was found disoriented and dehydrated but I couldn't immediately see any obvious injury.
"However, when I took her to a local vet for a detailed examination, to my horror, x-rays revealed that she had been shot twice - in the abdomen and face.
"The pellet entry wounds had already begun healing so the vet estimated that the fox may have been shot a few days before she was found."
The animal was taken to the Mallydams Wood wildlife rehabilitation centre near Hastings.
Ms Ormerod said:“Following advice from the vet and our local wildlife centre at Mallydams Wood, she was given fluids and pain relief. Unfortunately she deteriorated very quickly and had to be put to sleep.
"Sadly, given how severe the injury was this poor little fox never really stood a chance.
"It appears that whoever did this would have likely done it deliberately and it is concerning to think that someone would want to maliciously injure and kill an animal.
"Quite apart from the cruelty of shooting an animal and leaving it to suffer a drawn-out, painful death, there is the safety aspect which is very worrying.
"The fact that the shooting must have taken place on or near this primary school full of children deeply concerns us.
"We are therefore urging anyone who has information about this incident to get in touch via the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
The grim discovery was made last Tuesday (June 7) at the school in Twydall Lane.
Sharon Farish, head teacher, said: "It's a horrible thing to have happened, especially as we try and promote caring and looking after others at the school.
"But thankfully, the children did not see the animal and so it did not cause them any distress."