The RSPCA has raised concerns about the treatment of gulls after a bird was shot in Hastings.
Members of the public reported an injured gull in the Stonefield Road area of the town last month (May 24) and confined him to a box to keep him safe.
When Inspector Zoe Ballard arrived she could see the bird was struggling to stand, and could clearly see he was suffering from a bleeding wound under his wing.
Inspector Ballard took the bird to RSPCA Mallydams Wildlife Hospital, where an X-ray revealed he had been shot. Sadly the gull couldn’t be saved.
She said: “As the warmer weather approaches we do see more of these types of incidents – and it is just awful. The vet who studied the X-ray of this poor bird believes it is likely this was done at close range, so it’s really sad to think that this gull was shot on purpose. I cannot believe someone would do something so cruel.
“Some people see pigeons and gulls as vermin and pests and don’t understand why the RSPCA helps them – but the reality is that the RSPCA is here for all animals and injuring or killing these birds is actually an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Anyone found guilty of this can face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and six months in prison if they’re found guilty.”
Anyone with information about how this gull came to be harmed is urged to contact the RSPCA Inspector Appeal Line on 0300 123 8018 and leave a message for Insp Zoe Ballard.
She added: “Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases like this and help hundreds of animals that are the defenceless victims of air gun attacks.
“Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal – as is the case last month in Hastings.”
The RSPCA is calling for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop, could help relieve the problem.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.