Avians above: Man moves hawks into house

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Barry has moved the birds inside after they were stolen earlier this month

AN animal lover has moved two birds of prey into his home after they were stolen and tortured by sick thugs.

Barry Shaw, 22, was delighted to have his Harris Hawks returned after thieves took the pair from their aviary earlier this month.

But his joy turned to horror when he discovered that one of the birds had had feathers burned, broken and pulled out.

In a bid to protect the valuable pair – which are worth around £700 – the out-of-work gamekeeper has moved them onto the three-bedroomed house in Loanhead, Midlothian, which he shares with his partner, young son and three dogs.

And he says they are so relaxed in their new setting that they take it in turns to perch on his shoulder as he watches TV.

Barry said: “It’s not prefect but I’m keeping them here until I can convert my aviary securely.

“I want to make it like Saughton Prison to keep thieves out.

“I have everything ready but I am waiting on permission from the council to put up a six foot fence and make it as safe as possible.”

Barry’s long-suffering partner Wendy, 21, has resigned herself to guests which feel on baby chicks.

She said: “Barry has always been animal daft.

“He loves nothing better than going out hunting and it’s really an impressive sight to see the birds in action.

“But the house is quieter than his old flat. He used to have a one bedroomed flat when we got together.

“He had 24 snakes, five lizards, two dogs and a hawk.”

Tom Gatherer, the Chief Superintendant of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), said: “Keeping a bird of prey indoors is not ideal, however, it is acceptable if the Harris hawks’ welfare needs are being met.

“The birds should have suitable accommodation with perching and their hygiene must be maintained.

Knackered

“They will also require regular exercise and fresh air.

“Our concern would be that it is extremely difficult to provide these needs within a house and we would advise the owner to reconsider the bird’s accommodation.

“In situations such as this we will take action if we believe that the law is being broken and an animal is suffering.”

The birds were tortured with a lighter and had feathers broken and pulled out

The birds, called Luckie and Jess, were stolen from their home on Friday, January 13.

Mr Shaw used his Facebook page to appeal for information to help track them down.

On Saturday morning, he received an anonymous call from someone claiming to be the thief, telling him he’d never see the birds again.

But just two hours later he received a Facebook message telling him he could find the birds behind a disused Chinese takeaway inEdinburgh.

Despite being worried the message was a prank, Mr Shaw made his way to the former restaurant, in the Burdiehouse area of the city, and found the pair in a cat carrier.

But a horrified Mr Shaw then realised the birds had been ill-treated by the thief.

Speaking at the time, he said: “Jess has been burned with a lighter. Some of her feathers have been snapped off and all her tail’s knackered and she’s underweight.

“I think Luckie’s got a tail feather missing but other than that she seems fine.

“The person mailed me saying they has seen the story in the paper and their friends and family had the birds.

“The person said they thought they were in the wrong hands and had put them behind the old Chinese restaurant in Burdiehouse in a cat box.

“I went straight over and they were sitting there at the back of the restaurant.

“I thought it was just going to be a wind-up but I knew if I didn’t go I would be thinking I should have gone all night.”

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