Rescuers were shocked when they arrived at the site of a road casualty tawny owl this morning (Wednesday, January 21) after a well-meaning motorist repeatedly used his car to run over the injured bird in an attempt to end its suffering.
Volunteer rescuer Trevor Weeks MBE responded to the emergency call on The Broyle, near Ringmer, from a passing motorist just after 5am this morning and was on site within 20 minutes of the initial call.
“When I arrived on site I found another passing motorist had parked up with their hazard lights on,” said Trevor.
“I stopped and the gentlemen present explained that he had seen the owl on the ground unable to fly and wanted to end its suffering so not knowing how else to end the birds suffering he placed the bird on the road and repeatedly ran the bird over.
“Although I applaud this gentlemen for stopping rather than just driving on, repeatedly running over a casualty to end its suffering is not a suitable way to end its life and can cause immense suffering.
“I diplomatically mentioned about calling us or a vet in future and he was surprised that vets would be interested in dealing with wildlife and also concerned about the costs involved. The gentlemen was unable to describe the birds injuries and did not know the birds full condition but seemed to assume that if it had been hit by a car it would need putting down.”
WRAS is urging motorists not to attempt to kill any casualty unless they have been trained how to do so but to call their local wildlife rescue or emergency veterinary practice for assistance.
“For road casualty deer you can call Sussex Police on 101 and ask for a Deer Warden to attend. There are four dedicated out of hours emergency veterinary practices which are open at night in East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, plus a few smaller vets practices which provide their own out of hours cover too.
“Very rarely does a casualty need putting to sleep on the road side. We wouldn’t advise motorists to attempt to pick up foxes, badgers, swans and similar wildlife which can be hazardous but to call a rescue organisation for assistance.
“We have had a number of occasions when motorists have picked up foxes and badgers which are concussed placed them on the seat of their car only for them to wake up and the drivers has had to pull over and get out of their car quickly and wait for us to arrive and rescue the now lively animal running round inside their vehicle.”
Directory enquiries can search for local rescue organisations and vets practices if you are not sure who to contact in an emergency or as a last resort you can dial the non-emergency police number 101 and ask them for a local rescue contact details especially when a casualty is on the highway and a potential hazard to other motorists.