Britain is under attack from seagulls so vicious they are killing pets, attacking pensioners and drowning pigeons in London.
The birds, which traditionally live along the coast, are moving inland as their diet changes from fish to human food and rubbish. In the process they are becoming more aggressive and opportunistic, stealing food from out of people’s hands and attacking small animals.
In one incident, a flock of seagulls pecked a Chihuahua puppy to death in Devon, southwest England. In another, the birds killed a Yorkshire terrier in Cornwall who was playing in the garden when the gulls swooped down. Although the dog escaped into the kitchen, owner Emily Vincent said he was so badly injured it resemble a “murder scene”. The dog, named Roo, had to be put down.
Cornwall was also the scene of another attack where the birds killed a pet tortoise named Stig. Owner Jan Byrne said: “They turned him over and were pecking at him. We were devastated.”
Outside of southwest England, there are also reports from London that gulls have been drowning pigeons in Hyde Park before eating them.
They have also reportedly attacked and killed adult sheep in Ireland. Farmer John McCrohan fought the birds off two ewes with a stick. “I am convinced if I didn’t have that stick, they might have attacked me,” he said. The sheep died from their injuries.
There even reports of attacks on humans. In scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, pensioner Sue Atkinson was left with blood pouring down her face after she was attacked outside a school in Cornwall. Her injury was so severe she had to be taken to hospital and have the wound glued shut.
Business Insider says the problem is growing so bad that Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a “Big Conversation” on the issue. Although the number of gulls in Britain has more than halved since 1970, the number living inland is on the rise.
In the March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne pledged £250,000 for a research project into the birds’ behaviour, but it was later scrapped. Now there are signs the Prime Minister may reverse the decision.
However, any cull would require a change a law as they are currently a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Not only is it illegal to kill the birds but disturbing nests is also an offence.