Man carrying bleeding seagull damaged vet's property after being refused help... and later 'buried the bird at sea'
A bare-chested man carrying a bleeding seagull wrapped in his tee-shirt stormed out of a vet's surgery, causing damage to a door, after being told the bird could not be treated because it is was a wild animal, a court heard.
When police went to the home of Colin Lowes (47), of Torr Gardens, Larne, County Antrim, they found him sitting with the injured seabird.
The injured gull subsequently died and the defendant gave it a funeral at sea by releasing its dead body into Larne harbour to float away.
A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday that on June 30 last year police received a report of criminal damage at a veterinary surgery in the Larne area.
They were told a man had entered with no top on carrying a seagull wrapped in his tee-shirt.
Lowes was told by staff they could not deal with the bird as it was a wild animal and instead told him to contact the USPCA.
The prosecutor said after an argument Lowes stormed out causing a crack in a glass door which cost more than £150 to fix.
At court he pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.
Defence barrister Neil Moore said Lowes was out with his partner when he found the injured seagull and thinking he was "doing the decent thing" for the bird, which was bleeding, he took it to the vets.
Mr Moore said his client was essentially told that as it was a wild animal there was nothing they could do and on the way out, "struggling with the bird, the door was accidentally cracked."
Mr Moore said it was a "highly unusual case" and that when police visited Lowes' home he was sitting with the seagull.
District Judge Des Perry told Lowes he had no doubt he was "acting in the best interests of this creature" but he should have taken the advice of the vet and contacted either the USPCA or the RSPB.
He gave Lowes a one year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay for the damage to the door.