Gizmo the Chihuahua 'seized and taken away by seagull'

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Gizmo the chihuahua. Pic: Becca Louise HillImage source, Becca Louise Hill
Image caption,
Gizmo was described by his owner as a small Chihuahua

A seagull has seized and flown off with a family's pet Chihuahua, according to its owners.

Becca Louise Hill said a gull swooped down and grabbed Gizmo "by the scruff of his neck" in Paignton, Devon. Her partner tried to grab the dog's legs to stop him being taken away.

Gizmo, four, was described as a small, brown dog, weighing 4.4lb (2kg).

Ornithologist Peter Rock told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 seagulls were capable of picking up small animals.

Ms Hill, 24, said her partner was with Gizmo at the side of the house at 13:00 BST on Sunday.

'One of my babies'

She said: "A seagull swooped down and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck.

"My partner tried to grab his legs, but he was not tall enough and... the seagull flew away."

She said there had been no sightings of Gizmo since.

She said she would keep "looking every day" until he was found.

"It is not nice at all that one of my babies has gone," she said.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Posters are going up in the search for Gizmo

Mr Rock, from the University of Bristol, said: "If you have a very tiny little dog I suggest you don't let it run around in your back garden… it may well become a meal."

He said he was not really surprised to hear of the incident because gulls are "very large".

Tony Whitehead from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said it was possible a recently fledged herring gull came into "conflict" with the dog and the parents defended. Alternatively it was "simply a predation".

He said it was a "rare thing to happen to a dog", but he advised owners of small dogs to keep an eye on their pets.

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