Man who 'ripped heads off pigeons' escapes being sent to prison

Police speaking to witnesses who saw a man killing two pigeons in Norwich. 

Police speaking to witnesses who saw a man killing two pigeons in Norwich. - Credit: Team Pigeon

An animal welfare group has expressed its disappointment after a man who killed pigeons using his bare hands in Norwich city centre was given a suspended jail sentence. 

Police were called by Team Pigeon, a welfare group which helps care for injured pigeons in the city, after eyewitnesses said they saw a man rip off the heads of two pigeons on November 16 last year.

Pigeons at war memorial gardens overlooking Norwich market

Pigeons at war memorial gardens overlooking Norwich market where birds were killed. - Credit: Team Pigeon

The birds were left in a pool of blood near the war memorial at Norwich market to the horror of onlookers.

Christopher Haystead, 52, of no fixed abode but who previously lived in George Pope Close, pleaded guilty to an offence of killing wild birds contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

He was sentenced to two months imprisonment suspended for 18 months at Norwich Crown Court on February 28. 

Team Pigeon Jenny Coupland wins PETA award Norwich

Jenny Coupland started Team Pigeon after becoming frustrated with how pigeons are treated. - Credit: Jenny Coupland

Jenny Coupland, who has received a PETA award for her work running Team Pigeon, said: “It’s yet another example of our speciesist culture, as we arbitrarily apply 'worth' to animals.

"Pigeons are not seen as ‘important’, and we can confidently speculate Mr Haystead would be in prison tonight if he had beheaded a cat or a dog."