Driver repeatedly ran over injured owl at Ringmer

Trevor Weeks at the WRAS centre
Trevor Weeks at the WRAS centre

An animal rescuer was shocked to find a ‘well-meaning’ motorist had repeatedly run over an injured tawny owl near Ringmer to end its suffering.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue volunteer Trevor Weeks responded to an emergency call to The Broyle from a passing motorist just after 5am on Wednesday.

“When I arrived on site I found another passing motorist had parked up with their hazard lights on,” he said.

“I stopped and the gentlemen present explained 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.”

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue deals with hundreds of road casualty calls each year.

Trevor said many are concussed and can be treated.

“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,” he said.

“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 bird’s injuries and did not know the bird’s 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,” Trevor said.

“There are four dedicated out of hours emergency veterinary practices 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.”