Bird rescue pair caused gulls to suffer

MEMBERS of a gull rescue group have been found guilty of neglect and causing suffering to gulls kept in overcrowded conditions and untreated for injuries.

Tim McKenzie, 55, of Vicarage Road, and Jean Tyler, 66, of Pebsham Lane, Bexhill, from National Gull Rescue, were each banned from keeping birds for 10 years by Hastings magistrates.

They must also pay £2,000 costs after being found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 concerning 47 different gulls, including causing unnecessary suffering and neglect.

The court heard that the National Gull Rescue and Protection group was set up as a limited company in 2009 by McKenzie and others, leaving McKenzie as the only director in 2010. The birds in the group’s care were moved from a location in December 2010 and were then kept in aviaries in several back gardens.

The RSPCA received complaints about the welfare of the gulls at Pebsham Lane which led to them being removed on veterinary advice in April 2011. The defendants said that they had been forced to take in the birds the previous December by a previous director but there was no evidence to prove this.

Vets concluded that the birds had been suffering for up to two months.

Some of the gulls had severe bumble foot which had not been treated, others had not been provided with veterinary care for wing injuries.

Another bird also had an open wound which was badly infected which had also not been treated.

The needs of 47 gulls had not been met due to overcrowded, dirty conditions, lack of fresh drinking water, lack of ability to express normal behaviour and by not being protected from pain, injury and disease.