Seagull killed and two more put down after suspected air gun attacks close to Sunderland city centre flats
An investigation has been launched after seagulls were targeted in suspected air gun attacks, killing one and leading to two being put to sleep.
The RSPCA is searching for whoever is responsible after one of the birds was found dead and another two were seriously injured at a Sunderland flat complex.
During a 10-day period, RSPCA officers were called to three separate incidents involving dead or injured gulls at River Quarter Flats in Lambton Street, close to the Grosvenor Casino and the Empire Cinema.
In the most recent case, on Friday, April 30, animal rescuer inspector Helen Nedly was called to reports of an injured gull by a resident.
The bird had a pellet wound in her front and a broken wing and had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.
That followed on from an incident on Tuesday, April 27, when an inspector from the Northumbria RSPCA group attended the complex following reports of an injured gull with suspected shot wounds, which also had to be put to sleep.
On Monday, April 19, the RSPCA was called to reports of a dead gull on a balcony at the flats, which again appeared to have been killed in suspicious circumstances.
Helen believes someone is shooting at wildlife and is keen to trace the person responsible.
All wild birds, including gulls, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so it is illegal to deliberately kill, injure or take gulls except under licence.
Helen said: “It seems that someone has decided to take shots at gulls in this area and we know of three casualties which have died in suspicious circumstances.
“It is very concerning to think someone is using a weapon in a public area and has deliberately targeted innocent animals like this by shooting at them. There may be other dead birds or injured birds around which have not been found.
“I am keen to find the person responsible and am appealing for anyone who can help my investigation to get in touch.
“Unfortunately, attacks like this are not as rare as we would like and wildlife are more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them.”
Anyone with information can call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.