British man kills protected seagull in front of horrified children by smashing it against a wall only because it stole his chips
Several in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare watched on in horror as 65-year-old John Llewellyn Jones took his anger out on a lesser black-backed seagull.
A British man who brutally killed a protected seagull by bashing it repeatedly against a wall has been found guilty of the crime. 65-year-old John Llewellyn Jones, a retired delivery driver from Cardiff, was found guilty of a charge of animal cruelty for the July 2017 offense committed in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare and ordered to pay a £750 ($994) fine by the judge.
According to the Daily Mail, Jones was on a day trip to the town on July 17 when a lesser black-backed seagull knocked a bag of chips out of his hands. Incensed, the 65-year-old grabbed the bird by its leg and smashed it against a wall until it was near death. The seagull was rushed to a vet by a witness but was ultimately euthanized.
Jones' act of savagery was witnessed by several, including children, who were said to be horrified at his act of brutality and burst into tears watching the 65-year-old beat the bird to death. It did little to faze him, with Rachel Beer, who was working at a nearby sweet shop when the incident unfolded, describing the horror unfolding before her eyes to the Mail.
"I saw a seagull squawking and then taking a chip from a man's plate," she was quoted saying. "Suddenly, he grabbed it by its feet and swung it against the wall. I heard one of the mums say, 'Why did you do that in front of my child?' and he said, 'It's vermin, you should teach your children about vermin."
She revealed that after the assault, the bird was still alive. "The seagull wasn't dead at first," she explained. "We could see its eyes twitching. Thankfully, a passer-by came and took it to the vet. Seagulls are a problem but to kill one like that is just wrong."
Beer said she confronted Jones about the act, but that he ignored her protests. "I walked up to the gull and took a photo of it and then him," she continued. "I said, 'Why did you do that?' and he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away."
Because it's illegal to kill the lesser-black seagull under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which gives protection to native birds, Jones was charged in the incident.
He denied the offense but was found guilty at the North Somerset Magistrates' Court. Besides the $994 fine levied on him, he was also ordered to pay an £85 ($113) victim surcharge, which went to a general fund for other victims, and he was sentenced to a 12-week curfew.
Speaking about the incident, RSPCA inspector Simon Evans told the Mail, "This was an unthinkable and despicable way to treat an animal - with this gull smashed against a wall by the man, solely because it knocked chips from his hand."
"This was deliberate cruelty, borne from the fact that this man cared more for his chips than what his actions did to the poor gull," he continued. "Simply, the man showed blatant disregard for an animal because he was annoyed about his chips. Witnesses saw the attack - and shocked bystanders, including children, had to look on as the man killed the gull."