Animal welfare campaigners have renewed their concerns over pigeons getting caught in protective netting at Louth Town Hall - with reports that a racing pigeon recently died.
Meg Johnson, who runs the Potty About Pets shop in the town, said that the issue had been ‘ongoing’ since we reported on it last August.
Meg said that she rescued a number of trapped pigeons from the netting recently, including a racing pigeon which sadly succumbed to its injuries earlier this month.
Meg said: “We spotted a pigeon trapped by one leg on a balcony. Two-and-a-half hours after phoning the RSPCA for help, nobody called or came to visit although it was put down as urgent.
“We phoned the police to ask if we could get the bird ourselves, and at 7.30pm on March 3, in the dark and gale force winds, a friend and tree surgeon removed her from around 35 feet high. She was seen at James Street Vets, and sadly had to be put to sleep due to her injuries sustained.”
She added: “We want the netting to be cut down and replaced with correctly tensioned netting without holes, or tied with cable ties.
“Or even pigeon spikes, which seem to work quite well in Grimsby considering they have a larger population of pigeons.”
Meg also expressed her disappointment with the response of the RSPCA, which she said had been too slow to act on the situation.
The RSPCA has not yet commented on the claims.
Andy Howlett, CEO of Louth Town Hall, responded to Meg’s claims last week.
Mr Howlett said: “We have had two pigeons who got tangled in the nets. I helped release them when we found out about them.
“The RSPCA have been in again and we spoke to them about the difficulty in obtaining a quote to carry out the work to replace the netting.
“They advised us to contact Rentokil, which we have done.
“They have now surveyed the site, offered a long term solution to the problem, and will provide us with a quotation in the near future.
“We also are waiting a quotation from a local company.
“We have also contacted the district council to check that the proposed solution is acceptable within the listed status of the building.
“When the quotations are received, we will then look to funding the solution and we will get it sorted as quickly as we can.
“Any solution will take considerable organisation and planning - we are working with the companies who are offering possible solutions to ensure we can do this as quickly as possible.
Mr Howlett added: “We have taken further action to minimise the risk to the pigeons. We have cut the top of the netting over the balconies where the pigeons congregate to enable easy escape, and we are checking the netted areas at least twice daily.
“The cutting of the netting also allows easier access for the pigeons to the balcony. Pigeons now come and go from the balcony areas readily.”
• What do you think should be done? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSPCA: What should I do if I see a bird trapped in or behind netting?
“Each year around 2,000 reports are made to the RSPCA about wild birds trapped in or behind netting. A major cause is bird-deterrent netting.
“Problems arise when netting is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged, leaving gaps where birds can enter and become trapped. These birds can suffer a long and painful death from injury or starvation.
“Unfortunately bird-deterrent netting is often fixed in high or hard-to-reach areas, making the rescue of trapped animals difficult and dangerous.
“If you have seen dead birds in netting, or where you are aware of a regular issue of birds becoming trapped in netting, the RSPCA would be grateful if you could please forward the address, property owner (if known) and date of the incident to email@example.com.
“If you find an injured bird, see one trapped in netting, or have any information on a bird being treated cruelly, please call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”
• The RSPCA had not provided a comment about the specific incidents at Louth Town Hall at the time of going to press.