An elderly man is mourning the loss of his best mate, Pidgey the pigeon, shot and left to die in a gutter.
Ohauiti man John Green, 82, is offering a $50 reward for information about the killing, which he says has broken his heart.
Mr Green started feeding the bird a couple of months ago after it turned up at his home.
Affectionately referred to as "Pidgey" and "Precious", the pigeon would peck on the window until Mr Green let it in.
"He followed me everywhere. He would walk indoors and sit on top of the chair," he said.
In the evenings the pigeon would roost on the neighbour's roof, returning each morning for breakfast.
But one morning when Mr Green called his "mate", it didn't come.
When he looked over at his neighbour's house he found "Pidgey" slumped in the gutter, a trail of blood on the roof marking its descent.
"He was still warm and bleeding," he said, sadly. "He had been shot by some vicious person with a pellet gun. It broke my heart."
The neighbours heard a shot at about 4.15am, he said.
"It must have been someone who lives near me to see him on the roof. The person might brag about what they have done. I hope they are overheard," he added.
"They're vicious people who do things like that. They have no love for life. I miss him so much."
Tauranga police Acting Senior Sergeant Cameron Anderson said police had questioned residents in the street but had not identified the person responsible.
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