Cornwall

Dog 'killed by seagulls' in Newquay

Roo Image copyright Emily Vincent
Image caption Roo's owner said the dog was so docile he would never have provoked the gulls

Seagulls have attacked and killed a dog, leaving a sight "like a murder scene", the pet's owner has said.

Emily Vincent, 36, said her Yorkshire terrier Roo was swooped on in her garden in Newquay, Cornwall.

She said the attack was witnessed by her three-year-old and she now fears the birds, which have nested on her roof, may attack one of her children.

Ms Vincent said she was "disgusted" that Cornwall Council says herring gulls cannot be destroyed.

The MP for the area, Conservative Steve Double, described what happened as "disturbing" and said he had written to the secretary of state for environment "to ask what can be done to control the seagull population in Cornwall".

'Pool of blood'

Ms Vincent said she was upstairs when the 2lb (1kg) dog went out through the open back door and she came down to discover him badly wounded with what looked pecking marks on his head.

"It was like a murder scene - he was on his side in a pool of blood," she said.

Image copyright Andrew Segal
Image caption The RSPB said Herring gulls are protected because of their reduced numbers

"He had crawled back into the house and collapsed."

Ms Vincent said her three-year-old was screaming about two birds being involved.

She took Roo to the vet who confirmed the dog had suffered "a blow to the head" that meant she would have to be put down.

Ms Vincent said the seagulls often come down "and steal the dog's food".

She said she had contacted Cornwall Council asking what could be done to remove the seagulls but was told the birds cannot be destroyed as they are a protected species.

"Two of my youngest children have neurological problems. My fear is that it could have happened to them," she said.

"It is disgusting that they are putting gulls' protection above everyone else".

Cornwall Council said it would refer any inquiries about gulls to the information on its website - which states it does not support the destruction of Herring gulls as a method of control.

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