17 dead pigeons dumped in Wadebridge park
THE RSPCA and the Mayor of Wadebridge have condemned the killing of 17 pigeons after their bizarre discovery in Coronation Park.
The dead birds were found clustered together under a tree by a member of the public just off the park's Whiterock Road entrance last Monday, some of which were contained in plastic bags.
The town council, responsible for the park, was notified of the discovery and a groundsman called in the RSPCA, who took the birds away to establish a cause of death.
It is suspected that the pigeons were killed with an air rifle and then dumped in the park, but an investigation is still being carried out. While it is trying to establish how the birds died, the RSPCA is appealing to the public for any information in an attempt to solve the mystery.
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"This is a strange and shocking incident, and we would urge anyone with information to contact the RSPCA's inspectorate information line on 0300 1238018 and leave a message," the RSPCA's Calie Rydings said.
"All calls are in confidence."
Wadebridge mayor Tony Rush condemned the actions. He said the birds were harmless and called the killing "a mindless and idiotic thing to do".
"Nothing deserves that, pigeons don't hurt anybody and it's just idiotic," he said.
It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to kill any bird – including pigeons – unless a licence is held, although section one allows exemption if an organisation or individual complies with general licence regulations.
This would usually require a specific public health risk to be identified and other non-lethal methods to be used to disperse the birds before taking the decision to shoot them. Killing the birds would then be allowed under the general licence exemption or individuals could apply to Natural England for a licence.
Prosecutions under the Wildlife Act for killing pigeons are rare, with the punishment usually resulting in a fine. Paul Simonon and Topper Headon, members of the punk band The Clash, were prosecuted for shooting pigeons with an air rifle in 1978, but only for criminal damage as the birds were privately owned racing pigeons.