Gull attacked by children is put down

THE furious owner of an Essex wildlife charity has spoken of her anger after seeing a steep rise in the number of birds, including doves and kestrels, being needlessly shot.

James Hore

THE furious owner of an Essex wildlife charity has spoken of her anger after seeing a steep rise in the number of birds, including doves and kestrels, being needlessly shot.

Rosie Catford, who runs Wildlives rescue and rehabilitation centre in Thorrington, also revealed she has recently tried in vain to help a gull stoned to the brink of death by callous schoolchildren.

She said the “mindless cruelty” left the bird with a bloodied and badly broken wing, giving her with no choice but to put it down.


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And Ms Catford said she was growing increasingly alarmed at the number of birds being brought into the centre, near Colchester, suffering from gunshot wounds.

“We have had lots of problems recently with birds being shot - from kestrels to sparrow hawks, doves and blackbirds and it seems to be getting worse,” she said.

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“I think people just take pot-shots at birds and it's terrible for birds like sparrow hawks because the injuries they are left with mean they cannot hunt and will starve to death and it is, of course, against the law to shoot them.

“You can tell when it is a gunshot wound, rather than animal attack, because the pellets take the feathers into the wound and there is often an entry or exit point.”

Every week Wildlives is inundated with new cases of cruelty, but Ms Catford said nothing was being done to stop it.

“The mindless cruelty that we see here is unbelievable - that people can do this sort of thing to another living being and they get away with it time and time again.”

The recent attack on the black headed gull was the second incident of its kind involving youngsters from an Essex college in the past year.

Ms Catford said she had been told that teachers had witnesses the incident and rushed to stop the children involved.

“Its wing was bent right up into its shoulder - it was still alive when it was brought to us, but there was blood pouring everywhere.

“Imagine your arm being broken right up to the shoulder and then being twisted round and round and round and the bones were sticking through its flesh.

“There was nothing that we could do for it - this was just mindless cruelty and I did contact the RSPCA investigator, as it was the second time this has happened.”

She said the injuries and the subsequent stress caused were totally needless.

“This was a wild animal with an innate fear of humans and it was a life wasted needlessly - whether dog, fox, cat seagull or blackbird - it is another life and people should respect that life.”

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