Seagull attacks leave girl too scared to play outside

PUBLISHED: 16:14 26 March 2015 | UPDATED: 16:14 26 March 2015

Siblings Joseph and Hope Baker aged two and eight pictured at home this week after their seagull ordeals. Ref shs 0789-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Siblings Joseph and Hope Baker aged two and eight pictured at home this week after their seagull ordeals. Ref shs 0789-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

Dad calls for fines after children’s ‘flying rodent’ terror

Siblings Hope and Jossph Baker aged eight and two pictured at home this week after their seagull ordeals. Ref shs 0771-12-15SH. Picture: Simon HornSiblings Hope and Jossph Baker aged eight and two pictured at home this week after their seagull ordeals. Ref shs 0771-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Attacks by seagulls have left a two-year-old boy’s face scratched, his sister too petrified to play outside – and their father calling for action before someone is seriously hurt.

A bird swooped down, attacked and defecated as it went for little Joseph Baker’s bread roll as he sat in his pushchair on Sidmouth seafront.

Days later, a seagull targeted the family as they picnicked in Blackmore Gardens. Hope, eight, is now scared to leave the house.

The siblings’ dad, Matthew Baker, thinks the only way to deter seagulls is to cut off their food supply and is calling for fines for those who feed them.

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“[The attack] could have been serious – it could have been his eye,” said the 37-year-old. “This could have been my son’s sight. My daughter is too scared to play outside like a normal child.

“What’s more important – that or flying rats?

“People need to be fined. We need pest control out there. This needs to stop – then the seagulls will go back to finding food in their natural habitats.”

He said bystanders had laughed at his son’s reaction, but the attack could have been serious – and the bird poo could have made it even worse.

“They’re a protected bird – what are we supposed to do to them?” Matthew asked. “You have to start fining people who feed seagulls.”

The Chambers Close resident said that people who fed the protected species should be punished to the same extent as those who litter or leave dog waste.

“It isn’t even the holiday season yet – it’s going to get worse and worse,” he said, adding that tourists might not return to Sidmouth if they thought they would be attacked again.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said no bye-law existed to issue fines for feeding gulls and such a measure would be impractical to enforce.

She said the authority worked to educate people not to feed the birds, but, as with any human behaviour issue, there was only so much it could do.


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