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Nearly 2 dozen seagulls believed intentionally maimed

March 4, 2011 |  2:56 pm

Seagulls
Nearly two dozen maimed seagulls recovered over the last month on or near Huntington Beach appear to have been wounded intentionally, animal rescue workers said Friday.

The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach has received 22 seagulls since Feb. 5, all suffering from similar suspicious wing breaks. They were harmed so badly, they had to be put down, said center technician Kelly Beavers.

The fractures occurred in the same place, on the birds' right wings. Most were found in Huntington Beach, except for two in Laguna Beach, Beavers said.

"These are healthy birds, and the bones look like they’ve just been grabbed and snapped," Beavers said.

Seagulls are protected by state and federal laws. Those who harm them can face a maximum of six months in jail or a $15,000 fine, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Orange County Animal Control, lifeguards and beachgoers discovered the birds sporadically over a one-month period and alerted the care center.

Two maimed birds were found this week, on Wednesday and Thursday, Beavers said.

A similar incident occurred in the area in 2008, when at least 11 pelicans suffered similar injuries. Only one survived.

Anyone with information about the seagull attacks is asked to call the care center at (714) 347-5587.

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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Southern California seagulls. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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