On the Thursday evening (27/4/17) at 6:17pm East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) received a call from residents on the Kingsmere Estate reporting a creature moving inside a black plastic bag inside a large metal waste bin.
WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE attended on site and was able to use a pole to reach the black bag which started moving straight away. “I was able to pull the bag out of the bin and transfer it into a large animal cage to securely open the bag and prevent anything from escaping. I pulled out the bag and discovered a red and white T-towel over the top of a bloodied feral pigeon” said Trevor.
There was numerous blood clots on the T-towel and bin bag. The pigeon started flapping and was clearly very frightened and scared of the slightest touch. “The pigeon’s reaction was one of extreme fear and was oversensitive to touch” added Trevor.
Trevor give emergency first aid at the scene and then drove to WRAS’s vet Mike Symons who assessed the pigeon’s condition and was happy for the bird to be treated at WRAS.
“The feral pigeon was covered in blood. The right eye was severely swollen, bruised and bloodied. There was a deep puncture wound to the left side of the upper chest. The left eye was closed and swollen but the eye appeared intact on opening the eye lids. I noticed that the feathers around the tips of the wings and tail were ruffled as if they had been entangled at some point in netting” explained Trevor.
“The head trauma is in our opinion may well be due to being bashed across the head, possibly as a result of someone trying to kill the bird, which was when they wrapped in a t-towel and placed it in a bin bag on purpose and dumped in the waste bin for disposal without checking it was actually dead” said Trevor.
WRAS believes an offence has been committed here and unnecessary suffering has been caused as a result the incident has been passed to Sussex Police to investigate further. If anyone has any knowledge of what has happened they should contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting incident 146 of 28/4/17.
“What is wrong with people, if any animal needs putting to sleep it should be done in the most humane way possible. Bashing it over the head is far from humane especially if you don’t know what you are doing or get it wrong. Ideally the best and most humane option is for the animal to be seen by a veterinary surgeon. All good and responsible veterinary surgeons will euthanize critically ill wildlife free of charge, so there is absolutely no excuse for bodged attempt at putting an animal to sleep. I would also question whether there was a need to kill this bird anyway, especially if it was only caught in netting.” said Trevor.
“Many people will probably only say ‘its just a pigeon’ but they still feel pain and suffer the same way as your favourite pet cat or dog, or a so-called ‘special’ protected species of wildlife like a peregrine falcon, just because they are a successful species which takes advantage of our human habits doesn’t mean they should be treated with any less respect and compassion. As far as I am concerned this is on a par with racism” added Trevor.
The pigeon is now with WRAS’s pigeon and dove specialist Kathy Martyn in Uckfield where it is being given one on one care and attention, and having to be crop fed whilst its head injuries recovery. “We have called him ‘Stig’ as in ‘Stig of the dump’. He is such a frightened pigeon, but slowly getting used to me feeding him but it is clear he has been through one hell of a trauma and cruelty inflicted by a cruel human” said Kathy.