Nfld. & Labrador

Impaled seagull suffered needlessly, man says

A St. John's man who tried to rescue a seagull that had been impaled on top of a church is disgusted no one would rescue the bird.

Liberal MP tweets that hakapik should have been used to kill bird

A seagull became impaled on a rod on the top of St. Patrick's Church in downtown St. John's. (CBC )

A St. John's man who tried to rescue a seagull that had been impaled on a rod atop a downtown church is disgusted that no one was able to rescue the bird, or at least put it out of its misery.

The roof of St. Patrick's Church was too high for a ladder of one fire truck, but other crews were not assigned to rescue a seagull. (CBC )

"It was crying out for three days, nearly three days. It was almost charcoal-broiled," said Paul Morrissey, one of the people who responded to the seagull's plight after its flapping wing got caught Thursday on a rod on the top of St. Patrick's Church.

The seagull's cries could be heard around the neighbourhood as Morrissey and others, including the parish priest at St. Patrick's, tried in vain to get the fire department or anyone else to remove the bird.

By Sunday morning, the seagull was visibly dead, with Morrissey saying that the bird surely suffered in the high temperatures that the city otherwise enjoyed over the last week.

"It died of thirst. The worst, agonizing death you could ever imagine," Morrissey told CBC News. "Imagine dying in 28, 30 degrees Celsius on a hot tin roof, for three days, exposed to the sun like that. Terrible."

Morrissey said he was disgusted that he was continually routed to different agencies for help, including at one point a call to an official in Halifax.

While an employee with the regional fire department did come to the scene and was sympathetic, the truck's ladder was too short to get to the top. Morrissey said he had no quarrel with individuals at the fire department, but was appalled that larger trucks could not be dispatched.

He said there needs to be a protocol in St. John's for handling calls of animals in distress.

"What's the sense of phoning people when they put you on to other people, and they put you on to other people, and no one does anything? Animals are not treated very humanely, I'm afraid," Morrissey said.

"That seagull didn't die in vain. There will be better protocols in place," he added.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP Scott Andrews waded into the discussion about the seagull's fate, which attracted considerable public attention.

Responding to a woman in Prince Edward Island who has the Twitter handle @endsealhunt, Andrews — who represents the riding of Avalon in the House of Commons — tweeted, "gulls are like one would miss one..get a hakapik and put it out of his misery.."

Hakapiks are long hooked poles used to kill seals, although most seals killed in the annual hunt off Newfoundland are now killed with rifles.