Calls for dog toy to be shelved to protect Norfolk seals

Pictured is one of three seals along the Norfolk coast with their heads stuck in a plastic ring whi

Pictured is one of three seals along the Norfolk coast with their heads stuck in a plastic ring which have yet to be caught as of July 24, 2019 Picture: Friends of Horsey Seals - Credit: FOHS

The coordinator of a Norfolk seal protection group is calling on a high street chain to stop the sale of a dog toy to protect the animal.

Ms Kerr said that in August so far, the group have received four calls about baby seals on Horsey be

Ms Kerr said that in August so far, the group have received four calls about baby seals on Horsey beach having the ring stuck around their neck. Picture: Tracy Kerr - Credit: Archant

Tracy Kerr, 44, from Wells-next-the-Sea is the coordinator for Seal and Shore Watch based in the seaside town. She is calling on Pets at Home to stop the sale of plastic flying rings which can get stuck on baby seals.

Ms Kerr is a marine medic and took over the role in March.

In her job, she takes phone calls from members of the public who see seals in distress and assists first responders and medics to tend to the animals.

She said that in this month alone, the group have received four calls about baby seals on Horsey beach having the ring stuck around their neck.

Tracy Kerr is calling on Pets at Home to stop selling the plastic flying ring in order to protect th

Tracy Kerr is calling on Pets at Home to stop selling the plastic flying ring in order to protect the seals. Picture: Tracy Kerr - Credit: Archant


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The 44-year-old said these can cause horrific damage.

“It is very distressing to see the seals with these frisbees stuck around their neck”, she said.

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“To see the damage they can do, cutting into the skin, it is just horrific.”

She is now campaigning for the high street chain Pets at Home to stop selling the product after seeing them on sale there last month.

Three seals are still evading capture with rings round their necks which will cut into their flesh P

Three seals are still evading capture with rings round their necks which will cut into their flesh Picture: Chris Bainbridge - Credit: Archant

She visited the Kings Lynn branch in July when looking for a birthday present for her dog.

She said she consulted the manager about the sale.

“I was extremely concerned and disappointed to see that they are still stocking and selling these toys considering all the warnings regarding injured seals over the past years,” Ms Kerr said.

A spokesperson for Pets at Home said: “Animal welfare is at the forefront of everything we do so we are extremely saddened to hear of seals becoming injured on these dog toys.

“These products are available at a wide variety of retailers and it is important that all pet owners act responsibly with any toy or agility aid that they use outside of their own homes and, as with any trip to the seaside, be aware and mindful not to leave anything behind. To raise awareness of the issue we will be highlighting the risk they could cause, and will be discussing the matter in a forthcoming customer newsletter.”

Her campaign comes just as Norfolk-based Friends Of Horsey Seals launched a sculpture of a seal with a flying ring stuck around its neck, which will tour beaches this summer to warn people of the threat posed by the plastic toys.”

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