MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2016 – A veterinarian safely removed harmful hooks embedded into a seagull that was brought to one of the county’s shelters by a pair of Good Samaritans.
The seagull was inspected inside the veterinary clinic at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus on Friday. Upon initial inspection, the seagull only appeared to be tangled in fishing line. But it didn’t take long for the doctor to notice a lure hanging from the bird’s body.
It got worse from there for the seagull. One of the lure’s hooks had punctured one of the bird’s wings. Dr. Brad Brunskill, with the assistance of two veterinary technicians, removed that hook. A second hook was embedded in one of the seagull’s legs. That second barb was especially difficult to remove because it had gotten very deep. But eventually it, too, was safely extracted.
After Dr. Brunskill finished all his work, he transported the seagull to a San Pedro-based bird rescue organization. The bird will be rehabilitated at that center and, hopefully, one day be returned to the wild.
It was Iris Zuniga and her boyfriend, Christopher Colbert, who came to the bird’s rescue. The Hemet couple had just finished a short walk near the Diamond Valley Aquatic Center with their pre-school aged daughter. When they returned to a parking lot, the couple noticed the bird sitting in the road.
“I knew he would take off as we got closer, but this bird didn’t,” Ms. Zuniga said. “He just sat there.”
It didn’t take long for them to realize why. They saw all the fishing wire and the gear. Mr. Colbert tried to assist the bird, but the critter scurried away as best it could, despite its predicament.
“My boyfriend was chasing him around for about 15 minutes,” Ms. Zuniga said. “Then the seagull got tired.”
The couple tried to negotiate all the tackle, but it was much too tough a task. Mr. Colbert grabbed some moving gloves from the car and they brought the bird to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus.
Ms. Colbert said she was very excited to know the bird made it out OK. She also said that there was no way she or her boyfriend would leave the bird in that situation, which worked out to be a perfect lesson to teach their daughter.
“We teach all of our children to have compassion for animals and all living things,” she said.