Dog is scared to go out after gull attacks

WARY: Maggie Huntley with Bella
WARY: Maggie Huntley with Bella

A PET owner claims dive-bombing seagulls are “ruining her little dog’s life” after twice being swooped at while out walking.

Maggie Huntley says her pooch Bella is now too frightened to go out and constantly looks to the sky for fear of another feathered assault from above.

“These birds are just ruining my little dog’s life, she’s horrified,” said Maggie, who lives in Bellasis Grove, in the Clavering area of Hartlepool.

“We normally go out for walks twice a day. But since this has happened I have to pick Bella up and carry her because she won’t walk. She looks up to the sky thinking it’s going to happen again.

“They’ve frightened the life out of my poor dog.”

The first attack happened when mum-of-one Maggie, who is in her 50s, was walking with her Yorkshire terrier, in Bamburgh Road, in the town’s Clavering area, two weeks ago. Maggie said she heard a really loud shriek and then a flapping of wings and turned to see a huge sea gull trying to attack her five-year-old pet.

The bird missed its target but the next day two gulls dived for Bella. The attacks have left the dog’s confidenceat a low, said Maggie, and who lives with partner John Young, a builder, and is mum to Mollie Young, 16,

She said the birds are nesting on nearby roofs making them territorial and over-protective. She believes more should be done to get rid of the nests before the eggs hatch.

The Mail revealed how Mitch Wilson, 59, had been subject to the terrifying attacks while walking his Labrador, Pippa, along Bamburgh Road, in the Clavering area of town. He said there are about 60 seagulls swooping low every day in the area. One of the birds flew full speed into Mitch’s back.

Mitch, a civil engineer, warned that if the same thing happened to a young child or pensioner, it would knock them off their feet and leave them seriously injured.

Seagull attacks increase in July as birds become protective of their chicks. Mitch said something needs to be done to “get them back on the coast where they belong”.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said seagulls, like all other birds, are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the action that can be taken to control them is very limited.

Property owners are advised to take steps to prevent birds from nesting on their building.

l HAVE you had any problems with seagulls? If so contact the Mail on (01429) 239380.