RSPCA issue statement after seagull dies after being dragged on a ‘lead’ in viral Facebook video
The RSPCA has issued a warning against putting wild birds on leashes after a seagull died from being dragged around with a rope around its neck by a man. The bizarre act was caught on video, showing the man walking the streets of Bispham, Lancashire, with the seabird tied to a rope.
The man, aged in his 50s, was stopped by police on Monday evening (April 10) and arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, while the bird was taken off him by a member of the public.
It was taken to a local vets but sadly had to be put down due to being unwell. At this stage, no action has been taken against the man in relation to allegations of animal cruelty, but Lancashire Police said the matter is still being investigated.
Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to intentionally injure or kill them. Causing unnecessary suffering to the birds can also be considered a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
A police spokesman said: “We were called at about 8pm on Monday (April 10) to a report of a man pulling a live seagull along the pavement with a rope around its neck on Bispham Road.
“Officers attended and the man, in his 50s, was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and though subsequently de-arrested, the matter is still being investigated. The bird was taken by a member of the public to a local vet where they decided it sadly had to be put down.”
Animal charities have described the incident as ‘distressing’, ‘vile’ and ‘totally unacceptable’.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “This is a distressing sight and we are very concerned for this gull’s welfare. It is totally inappropriate and unacceptable to treat any wild animal in this way.
“Putting a gull on a leash would be extremely stressful for the bird as it would prevent it from being able to engage in its natural behaviour and could lead to injury or even death. Like all wild birds, gulls, their chicks and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“This means it’s illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure gulls, take or destroy their eggs, or damage or destroy any gull nests while they’re in use or being built - unless you’re acting under licence.
“Captive gulls, like this bird, are also protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which means their keeper is required to meet their welfare needs and avoid causing them unnecessary suffering.”