‘Homeless street drinkers eating pigeons’ reports investigated by police
Police are investigating reports of homeless people eating urban pigeons after traders reported seeing two men stuffing 14 birds into a rucksack in Exeter city centre.
The RSPCA has been informed and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Sarah Giles tweeted: “While doing the rounds I have had news of pigeons being captured for food. We will be looking into this.”
Last week, a trader described how she spotted a vagrant enticing pigeons with bird seed.
“His mate would [then] pounce on the pigeon and stuff it into the rucksack. They managed to get 14 in, even with them flapping about. It was in the space of around 20 minutes,” the bystander told the Daily Mail.
“I was horrified. I know there are too many pigeons and I’ve never been a fan, but how can you be so cruel to an animal? That to me was cruel.
“If I was a bigger person I would have taken the rucksack off them, but it was two strapping blokes.
“It was all alcohol related, they sit on Sidwell Street drinking all hours of the day. There aren’t enough police around.”
PCSO Giles told the newspaper that a “particular group of street drinkers” were responsible.
“Many are alcoholics, and to keep a certain consumption level will drink continuously. They are not filling a pub, because it is a different sort of drinking.
“It turns into a group, then a bigger group, and now we’re eating pigeons, now we’re killing seagulls. It escalates.”
She added that geese and swans have reportedly been captured by the river, and last week shoppers in Sidwell Street watched as a woman - part of a group of street drinkers - stamped on the head of a seagull.
In a statement, Devon and Cornwall Police said: “This is being investigated as causing unnecessary suffering under the animal welfare act 2006.
“It is believed that street drinkers have been using bird seed to help them catch pigeons and put them in a rucksack. We can’t even begin to speculate on their motives.”