Animal-lovers have reacted with outrage and sadness at the brutal shooting of a ‘much-loved’ duck who made her home on the canal near Telford’s Warehouse in Chester.

Twisted thugs shot distinctive-looking Maggie the magpie duck in the neck with an air-rifle in what the RSPCA has called a ‘deliberate act of cruelty’.

Devastated member of the public Donna Boden – who lovingly fed Maggie for several years – found Maggie injured and rushed her to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, but she was so badly hurt that she had to be put down.

Chronicle readers took to social media to share their horror at the despicable crime.

Jan Rutherford posted on our Facebook page: “So sad. Wondered where she’d gone.”

Alice Fletcher said she ‘loved’ Maggie, while Lynn Holmes branded it an ‘evil act’.

And Roger Maher wrote: “Disgusting this has been done to a defenceless creature.”

Donna, who described Maggie as ‘more like a pet’ to her, is offering a £100 reward to anyone who has information which will lead to the culprits’ convictions.

A duck has died after being shot at a Chester canal

She told The Chronicle: “When I’ve told people what happened they’ve all been disgusted that anyone could be so evil to such a harmless, friendly duck.

“She was the only magpie duck in Chester.

“Some have said they often hear shots being fired, and dead ducks and pigeons are now a common sight along the canal.

“Unless there is something to stop this killing, then we’ll have no wildlife left.

“Losing Maggie was like losing a much-loved pet which is why I need her killer stopped and brought to justice.

“I thought a £100 reward will hopefully get someone to speak out if they know who is responsible.”

Anyone who has any information should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or Cheshire police on 101.