The 26-year-old man, who is reported to have been high on drugs at the time he was caught, claimed the seagull was attacking him over his McDonald’s meal, prompting him to grab it and bite the bird.
Plymouth police officers were in the Raleigh Street area just before 3 pm on July 9, when they heard a commotion nearby.
A spokesperson for the police said the man ‘sunk his teeth’ into the seagull before ‘throwing it on the floor’.
“Officers had seen the incident and immediately went over and detained and took details from him,” they told Plymouth Live.
“Around this time, the man volunteered the information that he was under the influence of drugs, and it was decided that he should be taken to Derriford Hospital for treatment.”
The spokesperson continued to say the bird was clearly injured from the attack, however it flew off before they were able to check on its welfare.
“We don’t know what happened to it afterward,” they added.
The Charles Cross police team wrote on Twitter:
“Yesterday we detained a male who attacked and injured a seagull in the city center. Love them or loath them, seagulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The bird flew away before we could check its welfare.”
While many people would regard seagulls as a pest, especially when there’s food around, the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 makes it illegal to take, kill or injure wild birds or interfere with their nest or eggs. The act also states that not being aware of this law does not serve as a defense against it.
Anyone who is caught doing any of the above faces up to six months behind bars or a £5,000 (around $6,000) fine.
Police confirmed the incident is still being investigated and is under review.