THE OWNER of a wildlife rescue centre said stricter rules and regulations have forced him to close.

Roger Musselle, who has run Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean for 56 years, has been visited by the RSPCA, who he says took his pigeons away.

The 77-year-old, who runs the rescue centre in Downs Valley Road with his wife Fleur, said the stricter rules and regulations left him no option but to shut down the centre.

“Due to excessive rules and regulations that are now being forced upon us who rescue wildlife, our facilities are no longer acceptable in the 21s century,” he said.

“The RSPCA doesn’t consider our hygiene up to their standards. We have plastic cages instead of metal or steel cages.”

The Argus: Roger Musselle, of Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean Roger Musselle, of Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean

Roger said the RSPCA took away animals which they considered not fit for them to be looking after, which includes about a dozen pigeons.

The RSPCA has been contacted for comment.

“I didn’t agree with that,” Roger added. “We at Roger's Wildlife Rescue have worked with other wildlife centres and veterinary surgeons successfully for many years and I am sorry for the extra pressure my decision to stop will put on you all.

“Wildlife and nature has always been and always will be my passion and I am still happy to continue giving out wildlife advice to anyone needing it.

“I will continue to work for the good of wildlife, but will not in future be taking in wildlife casualties at our home, as we have done for all those years.”

He said over the 56 years, wildlife casualties have increased to the stage where they treat approximately 2,000 birds and animals per year – including 400 seagulls in the last 12 weeks.

The wildlife expert said the centre has successfully released thousands of birds and animals back to the wild, and often receive up to 120 calls per day over the summer.

The Argus: Roger Musselle, of Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean Roger Musselle, of Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean

The Woodingdean and local wildlife-loving community has shared their support for Roger on social media.

“Well Roger, I'm sure you are finding this very sad. However after 56 years of wildlife rescue and even more years working with animals, you certainly need to rest up a bit and have some you time,” one person said.

“Woodingdean in particular are going to miss all the excellent help you have given people and their pets and wildlife. Happy retirement.”

Another added: “Such sad news Roger. As a child we used to visit you in Rogers Pet Shop and then again at your rescue centre, where you kindly took our tortoise after we were unable to keep him when we moved.

“You have been amazing and now enjoy your retirement as you deserve it so much.”

In October the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA is aware of concerns raised. We are very grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.

“Unfortunately we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people and what action may have been taken. 

“A lot of the time issues will be dealt with by advice and education and it is not always appropriate to publicise this information for legal reasons.

“If anyone has any concerns about animals please call us on 0300 1234 999.”