Gull death horror drama

PUBLISHED: 14:59 04 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:26 10 June 2010

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4: A BUDLEIGH Salterton man has spoken of his horror when he and his wife witnessed a pet dog take 10 minutes to kill a baby seagull - in front of children. Tony Shepherd, of Barn Lane, was basking in the sun last Thursday morning, sitting on a bench near t

A BUDLEIGH Salterton man has spoken of his horror when he and his wife witnessed a pet dog take 10 minutes to kill a baby seagull - in front of children. Tony Shepherd, of Barn Lane, was basking in the sun last Thursday morning, sitting on a bench near to the Imperial Recreation Ground at Exmouth, looking out over the estuary towards Lympstone and Starcross.Then Mr Shepherd says three dogs - a brown and white spaniel, a red setter-type and a third dog - appeared with their owner."The spaniel was obviously hell bent on getting a seagull," he said. "The dog owner walked off around the estuary and out of view with the other two dogs, leaving the spaniel to what it wanted."It caught a baby seagull, which shrieked and cried for a long time before it was drowned by the dog."He said hundreds of other seagulls, who were bobbing on the tide, suddenly started diving at the dog - which took about 10 minutes to kill the baby bird, before leaving it. "The owner then reappeared and the spaniel scampered back," he added. "This was very distressing to watch, not just for my wife but for two other people and their children who were watching."Whether this is a daily ritual for the dogs and owner I dread to think."Mr Shepherd said there were also ducks, herons and swans wading in the area - and he questioned whether they got the same treatment."I hope the owner reads this article, and keeps his dogs under control."A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "This sounds like a horrendous incident and I would urge anyone with information about the person responsible to contact the RSPCA cruelty and information line."Seagulls are not a pest and are afforded protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is also illegal to cause an animal to suffer."Dog walkers have a duty to ensure their animals are kept under control." If you have information call: (0300) 1234 999. Calls are treated in strictest confidence.

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