‘Bird ban’ imposed on St Leonards woman

A WOMAN from St Leonards has been banned from keeping birds for five years and ordered to pay £725 after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to seagulls.

Louise Tester, 44, of Tower Road West, pleaded guilty to causing gulls to suffer when she appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court.

Tower admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to 16 gulls and three charges of failing to meet the needs of those 16 and a further 14 gulls between February and April this year.

The court heard the birds were kept by the defendant at Tower Road West on behalf of the National Gull Rescue and Protection which collected young and injured gulls in East Sussex and housed them in various private locations.

Veterinary examinations revealed that suffering had been caused by a failure to provide veterinary care for injured wings and severe bumble foot, a bacterial infection of the feet.

One of the birds also had a deep and open wound which was badly infected and had not been treated. The birds were also kept in overcrowded conditions.

In her defence, Tester said that she was aware that the birds were suffering from bumble foot but had been told that little could be done to help them.

She also said that she did not intend to cause them to suffer.

RSPCA inspector Tony Pritchard investigated the case and said: “Instead of being cared for and rehabilitated, these wild birds were taken in and allowed to deteriorate to the point that they would not be able to be treated and released.

“It is not acceptable to leave any animal without veterinary care and in such cramped conditions.”

Tester was ordered to pay £560 in costs and was fined £165.

Two other defendants from the same investigation are scheduled to appear at Hastings Magistrates Court on 5 December in connection with causing unnecessary suffering to gulls.