British Columbia

Photo of tortured pigeon wearing bell and hat angers Penticton residents

Many residents of Penticton, B.C., are outraged over a photo of a pigeon with a hat stuck on its head and a bell wrapped around its neck.

Wildlife rehabilitator says pigeon will have slow, painful death without intervention

A pigeon in Penticton, B.C., wears a bell that makes it difficult to fly, and a hat. An SPCA Constable was able to remove the materials from the bird and it subsequently flew away. (Gary McDougall)

Many residents of Penticton, B.C., are outraged over a photo of a pigeon with a hat stuck on its head and a bell wrapped around its neck.

Gary McDougall saw a pigeon outside his house Saturday morning. He had seen it before, but noticed something different this time.

McDougall went inside the house, grabbed his camera and took some pictures so he could get a closer look.

"It looked like someone had attached, glued perhaps, a paper of some kind on its head, but also around its neck on its chest there was a fairly large bell, about the size of a golf ball.... it also looked like they may have painted it red."

McDougall says the pigeon was also missing its tail feathers, making it difficult to fly.

"It's beyond a joke. It's unacceptable. It's a cruel thing to do to anything, especially a bird because it hampers its flight," said McDougall. "Imagine hanging a bowling ball around your neck and trying to run around. Not good, not good at all."

McDougall passed along the photos to Manda Maggs, a certified wildlife rehabilitator, to see if anything could be done.

"The fact that something was done to the bird on purpose was very disturbing. There is no way that this bird got into that by accident," said Maggs.

Maggs is concerned that without intervention, the pigeon will likely endure a slow, painful death.

"The best-case scenario for him right now is either for someone to catch him and fix his problem, to either remove the bell and give him a wash or whatever he needs done to him," said Maggs. "Or honestly, to have a predator come for him, which would at least be a faster death than what he is facing now."

The RCMP are aware of the photo, but have not received any calls about the pigeon.

McDougall hopes someone who knows anything about the bird will come forward.

"It's more than just a pigeon. It's the concept that bothers me the most."

To listen to the full interview with Gary McDougall, listen to the audio labelled Penticton photographer captures troubling photo


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?