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Pigeon covered in cooking oil gets washing up liquid bath

Oil can be very dangerous if it gets on birds' feathers. Credit: RSPCA

A pigeon found covered in cooking oil has had a much needed bath at RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton.

The adult pigeon was found in Ilfracombe harbour in Devon with his feathers coated in vegetable oil - which can be very dangerous.

RSPCA veterinary nurse Natalie Stahl said: “Oil can be incredibly damaging to birds – affecting their plumage and their ability to stay warm and dry.".

Her team used normal washing-up liquid and warm water to help remove the sticky oil - thought it took a number of baths to clean the pigeon up and bring him back to full health.

"This poor pigeon has really been through the wars."

– Natalie Stahl, RSPCA veterinary nurse

The centre is hoping to release him back into the wild in the coming weeks.

RSPCA reports rise in cruelty cases in the South West

Complaints to the RSPCA increased in 2014 Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

The RSPCA says its figures for 2014 show that cruelty complaints in the South West and Central England have gone up once again.

The charity investigated 28,800 complaints in the South West and central England in 2014 compared to 28,573 in 2013. More than 3,500 of these involved alleged deliberate and often violent cruelty being inflicted upon animals.

It is extremely concerning that we are still receiving so many complaints about animals being deliberately caused to suffer.

Most of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care and often we can put that right by offering welfare advice. However, it is shocking that in 2014 people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways.

– John Grant, RSPCA superintendent


Pensioner set to lose his home after being found guilty of animal cruelty

Leslie Weatherill who kept ponies and dogs in squalid conditions is set to lose his home Credit: Irving of Exeter

A pensioner who kept ponies and dogs in squalid conditions is set to lose his home after being handed a £140,000 bill.

Leslie Weatherill kept horses and ponies in an area of woodland and scrub strewn with rubbish and abandoned vehicles.

The land did not have enough grazing to support the 18 horses and ponies and they often roamed into neighbours homes searching for food. The dogs were kept on land in poor conditions where lot of rats were around.

Horses and ponies were kept in an area of woodland and scrub strewn with rubbish and abandoned vehicles Credit: Irving of Exeter

When Devon County Council were called to the waste land they contacted the RSPCA who took the animals from him.

But the defiant pensioner refused to sign over his 29 dogs so they could be rehomed, and over the last 15 months, the court heard, it has cost the animal charity £90,000 to keep the terriers, collies and poodles in kennels.

Weatherill was prosecuted by Devon County Council Trading Standards department and the RSPCA and was convicted - following a trial - on 22 charges.

Exeter magistrates jailed the white haired pensioner from Ide for 12 weeks after he was sentenced for one offence of cruelty to a dog and 21 charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

But the magistrates suspended the jail term for 18 months

The dogs were kept on land in poor conditions where lot of rats were around Credit: Irving of Exeter

Chairwoman Linda Price said the total costs of the case were £138,322 but told the court she accepted the hard-up pensioner would not have enough money now, or in the future, to pay.

He was ordered to pay £50,000 towards the 'huge' costs surrounding the case, and was banned for the rest of his life from keeping animals.

The court heard the land was strewn with rubbish, derelict caravans, abandoned and rusting cars, barbed wire, corrugated iron, glass and scrap.

Horses and ponies were kept in an area of woodland and scrub strewn with rubbish and abandoned vehicles Credit: Irving of Exeter

David Sapiecha said the defendant was given advice by the RSPCA and Trading Standards department on improving the area for his animals but said he had “an entrenched attitude and he knows best”.

Defence lawyer Susan Snow said Weatherill had been involved with horses for 55 years but ‘recently things had fallen apart’. She said the six acre land at Doddiscomsbleigh near Exeter where the dogs and ponies were kept had no sale value.

Swan shot in head with metal pellet

Swan shot in the head with metal pellet Credit: RSPCA

A swan has been rescued in North Devon after a metal pellet was found in its head.

The RSPCA caught the adult male swan on Wrafton pond in Braunton last month. Staff found he had an air rifle pellet lodged in his bill.

The swan was then taken to RSPCA West Hatch in Taunton, Somerset, to be treated and has been returned to the pond.

Swan found with air rifle pellet lodged in his bill Credit: RSPCA

This poor swan had an air rifle pellet embedded on the fleshy lump at the base of his upper mandible.

We have been told that this swan is one half of a mating pair and has been for many years and they have reared numerous cygnets together so it is lovely to be able to reunite them just in time for breeding season.

– Deputy chief inspector Anthony Frow

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to contact the RSPCA inspector line on 0300 123 8018.


Full report: RSPCA say cases of animal cruelty is growing

The RSPCA says it's getting more reports of animal cruelty and neglect than ever, but is doing its best to tackle what it's calling 'an ever growing crisis'. Last year the charity secured more convictions for animal cruelty in Somerset than anywhere else in the south of England.

Karen Griggs reports:

Man who threw dog into sea can keep his pet

A man who had his dog seized after hurling it into the sea in Devon will be reunited with the pet after a court heard he was "an animal lover".

Paul Sanders was said to have shouted: "This is how you get your dog to swim" as he lobbed his terrified 10-year-old collie Shep from the pier at Babbacombe Bay, Torquay.

Shocked onlookers - including horrified children - screamed as unemployed Sanders, who was only wearing swimming trucks at the time, grabbed his dog and pushed it off a stone wall, plunging 15ft into the sea.