Officers in Bournemouth are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after a swan was shot in the Throop area of the town.
The incident, in which the swan sadly died, happened between 3.35- 3.45pm on Monday 4 November at Throop Mill Pond.
Police Constable Gemma Wallbridge, of Bournemouth police, said: “This is an extremely callous and heartless crime.
“It is not clear at this time what weapon was used, but it is believed to be a type of firearm and a popping sound was heard at the time of the incident.
“A number of people were around in the area who may have noticed some suspicious activity.
“In particular I would like to speak to a group of people, four men and one woman, who were seen in the area at the time with a white Lurcher and a small terrier like dog. I believe that they may be able to assist with the investigation and I urge them to come forward.
“Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact the police on 101 as soon as possible.”
Inspector Sue Brooks, of the RSPCA, said: “This is a very sad case and we are keen to assist the police in bringing the offenders to justice. Anyone with information can also call the RSPCA Inspector Appeal Line on 0300 1238018. All calls are treated with the strictest confidence and the caller may remain anonymous if they wish.”