AN ANIMAL lover was horrified to discover a seagull had been “beaten by boys with a bat”.

Lisa Barrow, who regularly rescues birds in need, took an injured seagull to New Priory Vets in Brighton on Wednesday evening.

The 53-year-old said: “When I arrived I was told about this other gull and shown pictures and I thought, I’ve got to share this.

“I was absolutely horrified because I love wildlife and particularly gulls.

“According to the form, the seagull had been beaten by two boys in Wish Park in Hove. It was trying to get away and coughing up blood. It’s just awful.”

Pete Foggen, a veterinary nurse at New Priory Vets, confirmed the bird was reported to have been viciously attacked. He said: “A call came in about a gull which had been attacked by two youths with a bat.

“We can only go on what we’ve been told over the phone, as due to social distancing measures the box with the bird was left at our door, and we took it from there.

The Argus: Vet and co-owner of Sompting Wildlife Rescue, Pete FoggonVet and co-owner of Sompting Wildlife Rescue, Pete Foggon

“It arrived bleeding from its wing and on examination it was found to have an open fracture to its right wing and had lost a lot of blood. Sadly it was euthanised on humane grounds.”

Pete said a lot of seagulls had been brought to the vets on Wednesday after eating flying ants, which can make the gulls “drunk” and unable to walk or fly and therefore potentially an easy target.

He said: “We’re not sure if it was because the gull was grounded and they just thought they would hit it in the moment, or if it was something else.

“I see a lot of animals with injuries and we try to rehabilitate them if possible, but the nature of this one was a shock and was never going to be a viable option to fix.

“What makes it worse is the fact it could have young somewhere, which now may die also.”

On the same day, Pete had to attend to 14 pigeons, including nestlings, fledglings, and an adult, plus eight eggs, which had been sealed in a box and dumped beside a communal bin in Salisbury Road in Hove.

He said: “I must say, we weren’t expecting 20 birds, crammed in a box so hot that when opened the stench of hot steamy faeces bellows out like a sauna.”

The Argus: The pigeons and eggs which were dumped in a sealed box by a bin in HoveThe pigeons and eggs which were dumped in a sealed box by a bin in Hove

Pete painstakingly cleaned and fed each bird and they were taken to Sompting Wildlife Rescue.

He has reported the offence to police, as it is illegal to intentionally disturb or destroy the active nest of any wild bird.

Pete said: “From the size of the colony we have, there are some five different stages of bird here that have been removed, and that means there are at least another 20 to 30 adults somewhere now, minus their offspring.

“This is not a pair of pigeons nesting on a balcony, but more like a rooftop on a block of flats or a shopfront signage that someone can get to.

“If anyone has any information on this matter please contact police on 101 and quote the reference number 0257 of 25/06.”