This is not the kind of story you read every day. I don't really think of seagulls as birds of prey. Sure, these beach pigeons will go after pretty much anything edible, and they're not shy around people, but I haven't considered that seagulls would snatch poor pets right out of their yards.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what recently happened to one truly unlucky family in the town of Paignton in Devon, England. Becca Hill's tiny chihuahua Gizmo was hanging out in the yard outside her house when a massive seagull swooped down and flew away with Gizmo in his beak.
Becca's partner witnessed the incident and even tried to wrestle Gizmo back from the bird. "My partner was in the garden putting the washing out at the time," Becca told DevonLive, "and suddenly he saw it swoop down. It carried Gizmo a fair way as we couldn't see him anymore. I have no idea if he was dropped or where he is now."
Could you even imagine being outside with your pets, having a lovely day in the garden, and then one of your dogs is literally snatched up and flown off by a bird?! That's insane! Becca is hoping that with the power of social media, someone will find and recognize Gizmo and they will be reunited.
Becca owns three chihuahuas, and she never thought this would happen to her. Who would?! I've heard of hawks and things going after pets in the yard, but I don't think of seagulls as large enough to fly off with a whole dog in their beaks. It really does happen, though. What a total nightmare.
I bring my chihuahua mix to the beach all the time. Now, he's also part beagle, so he's almost 30 pounds. I don't think a seagull would be able to snatch him up too easily, but it still gives you pause. Even if dogs aren't all that small, they're still potentially in danger.
We have all seen that scene in The Proposal where Kevin the pup gets snatched up by an eagle. Sandra Bullock gets the dog back, but the eagle gets her phone. These incidents are not just movie magic. This is real life, people!
In Devon in particular, there have been a few incidents of dogs being snatched or attacked by seagulls. In May 2015, Niki Wayne's chihuahua pup Bella was attacked and pecked to death by seagulls after she accidentally got out the front door.
Niki was showering when her little pup managed to nudge the door open and get outside. Within minutes she was attacked by a hoard of seagulls. How horrifying is that? Devon is rampant with killer seagulls, and all dog owners need to take note.
Niki said she'd noticed the seagulls perched on the roof of her house, looking down at the little dog, clearly planning their attack. This is a real The Birds situation, if you ask me. Killer birds hanging around rooftops, stalking people's pets...it's Hitchcockian! Nightmarish! No thank you!
As for poor little Gizmo, he's still missing, and people all over the neighborhood are on the lookout. A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told DevonLive that while this is very upsetting for the dog owner, "these types of incidents are very rare and not typical gull behavior." That means there's something very wrong with these gulls, then!!