Every year in the UK pigeons are trapped behind the netting that is put up to deter them and die a lingering death by starvation or strangulation. Please help stop this happening by signing this petition to the UK government :
If you would like copies of the leaflet pictured above for distribution please contact Rachel Barrat
|CALL LONDON WILDLIFE PROTECTION|
|CALL the FIRE SERVICE|
|CALL the WILDLIFE POLICE|
|CONTACT PIGEON RESCUE TEAM|
|CALL the RSPCA|
|CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL|
|HELP STOP THESE TRAGEDIES FROM HAPPENING|
|SOME USEFUL CONTACT NUMBERS|
The first priority must be to release the pigeon. You will need to act promptly. I have been involved in cases where help arrives too late for the trapped pigeon and that is heartbreaking!
Please check carefully to ensure that the pigeon can't escape or be helped to escape. Check to see whether there are any other pigeons trapped there and whether any of them have died. Make a note about the condition of the pigeon and the immediate risk. Make certain that you will be able to give whoever you call the exact location of the pigeons at risk.
If the pigeon is not in distress then the first people to contact would be the shop, council or organisation responsible for the netting. You will find that some say that they will have to call out the pest controllers responsible for installing the netting and that rather than releasing the bird they will kill it. Please be aware that this would be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1980. Pest controllers work under a General Licence issued by Natural England. The conditions of the licence requires them to consider lethal control as a final resource, so killing a pigeon that became trapped because of their poor workmanship would be a violation of the licence and would have to be reported to your local wildlife liaison officer for investigation. The person responsible for the netting should be made aware of this.
In some areas there are animal rescue centres that will help. Try finding someone in your area that can help using the pigeon friendly rescue centre map. If they can't help they might have a contact to refer you to.
Although they are London based London Wildlife Protection are the most experienced network for rescuing pigeons from netting.
07909795064 or 07947475147
Although the rescuing of trapped animals by the fire service is derided by the tabloids there is a good reason for them to respond...this is that caring members of the public will try to rescue a trapped animal themselves if no other help is available and can get themselves into a hazardous situation.
Some fire services require the RSPCA to check the need for response first.
Anton Phillips, animal rescue specialist at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "If we don't rescue that animal somebody else will or will try to, I've seen people have their arms trapped in drains trying to rescue ducklings and we've actually had to dig the road up to get the person out."
The fire service has the equipment and the techniques to deal with situations where animals are trapped and will often respond to an emergency call for a trapped animal when nothing more serious is happening. Some services regard these call outs as a useful training exercise...however some will only respond to a call from the RSPCA.
Although the press makes a big thing of trapped pigeons being rescued by the fire service, there have only been 159 recorded incidents in the last three years. This is a breakdown of the animals rescued by the fire service in that period::
Before calling the fire service please make absolutely certain that the pigeon needs rescuing and get full details of the location.
On mobiles you can use 112 as well as 999 for emergency calls.
If the fire service responds to a call, please remember to write a letter to the service praising the team that attended.
These are some recent incidents where the Fire Service has freed trapped birds:
Salisbury, Wiltshire January 2012: A fire crew with an aerial appliance was called out to rescue a pigeon stuck on a roof in Salisbury .The pigeon got its feet caught in netting over the roof of the Denis House office in Endless Street on Saturday and when it was still there on Monday the RSPCA was called in.
Newport August 2011 : a pigeon stuck in guttering in Newport town centre was rescued by firefighters called in by the RSPCA.Burnham April 2011 : The RSPCA asked them to retrieve a pigeon trapped in netting on a roof. Crews used a long ladder to reach the distressed bird on the Nationwide building on Victoria Street .
Oxfordshire: Records show that in a period of three years the fire service rescued 17 birds including 10 pigeons.
The RSPCA is often the trigger to get a bird rescued by the fire service. They also work closely with wildlife crime officers.
When calling them choose the "domestic or kept animal" option, because a trapped pigeon is likely to be a racing pigeon or pet or a domestic dove that has been released. As such, they are protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
If you believe that the bird will need additional care after release, please make every effort to be there if and when the RSPCA attend and ask to have the bird handed into your care. We believe that in many cases rescued pigeons are killed if they turn out to be unbanded to economise on the cost of transporting them to a rescue centre.
Use the RSPCA cruelty line ( 0300 - 1234 - 999 ) to report trapped pigeons. PLEASE SELECT Option 3 followed by option 1.
You will probably get through to a call centre. Call centre staff do not have to be animal lovers, pigeon lovers or to have any knowledge of bird rescue, so be wary of any advice they give you.
Give as much information as you can about the location and the condition of the pigeon. Insist on having an inspector visit the location. Ask for a reference number that will enable you to chase your call. Call an hour later to see what has been done.
Follow up any call you make at hourly intervals and make a note of your calls. If the RSPCA rescues the pigeon, write a letter of thanks. If it lets you and the bird down, write a letter of complaint detailing the outcome. This might help other pigeons. The address for both praise and complaints is:
Customer Service Co-ordinator
Your local police, particularly if they have a wildlife liaison officer, should help by explaining to whoever is responsible for the netting that allowing a bird to become trapped and die is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Your local constabulary will be able to put you in contact with their wildlife liaison officer but you can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and they will pass the details on. Some wildlife police officers are helpful and will act to get the pigeon released.
When reporting the incident to the police or to a wildlife liaison officer:
- State you are reporting a crime.
- Give relevant details: exact location, number of birds, state of birds, details of anyone that you have contacted.
- Obtain an incident number.
- Ask to be updated with the results.
The Facebook group Ban Bird Netting on Buildings has been successful in putting enough pressure on organisations to get trapped pigeons released.
Your local councillor is a good person to contact about your concerns, but the reaction will be a slow one so they are best approached to stop situations recurring.. Your council's Trading Standards officers deals with some matters relating to animal cruelty and animal welfare...dead pigeons caught in netting may also be of concern to Environmental Health, so try contacting them.
I will be listing local council contact numbers by county below, but until I have done that please use this A to Z of local councils.
If you are aware of pigeons that have died trapped in netting please don't let their death be in vain. Take a photo if you can and write a letter of complaint to the RSPCA, to the local police, to the Council Environmental Health enforcement officer and to those responsible for the netting. If the netting is still in place putting other pigeons at risk of dying trapped there, also write to your MP about it. The more we write, the more we complain, the more hope there is that organisations will replace their netting or remove it (according to the Pigeon Control Advisory Service - PiCAS - 'Netting should never be repaired due to the fact that the integrity of the system is based on tension – if netting is repaired a weak point is created that will quickly fail and allow birds to gain access. Netting installations must be replaced when damaged.').
If one case was successfully pursued by the RSPCA people would start being more responsible and fewer birds would die this terrible death!
This is a link to a list of contact numbers that is on another website and may be out of date.