The Swallow trapped by glue

Spreading glue to chase away birds in the garage of a building turned out to be a death trap

About two weeks ago we received a telephone call at the offices of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel from an employee who was working in the Alex Original Building in the Ramat HaChayal section of Tel Aviv. The employee wanted to report on a bird that had gotten stuck to one of the pipes on the ceiling of the garage, after the maintenance crew of the building had decided, apparently, to fight the swallows that had entered the garage, by spreading glue on the pipes.

Apparently the damage that was done to the vehicles was more important to them then were living creatures, and in an original and inhumane way the maintenance crew decided to put glue on the pipes that extended the length of the ceiling so that the swallows would get stuck on them. It is important to point out that the swallow is a protected species that usually lives in flocks and in grottos. Urban development is taking over and eating away at the living space of the swallow, and they have found their way to parking spaces of this type.

In this building, known by the nickname of the “Keshet” building, a number of companies are working, and among them are: the company running Channel 2 Keshet, Mantis, the 10 Fingers Production Company, Cooperman Productions, Techsnet Ltd., 4 A.D. – Programs and Computers and Cinematip—a company for producing sub-titles.

The representatives of the Society left immediately to go to the building’s address to rescue the bird. When they got there they were met by the employee who had reported the case. While walking together through the parking area of the building, the employee informed the representatives that this was not the first time that a bird had been glued to the pipes. The sight that they saw was shocking: the poor bird was stuck to the pipe, its body had been covered with glue and it was trying to get free of the trap with all the strength it had left.

The representatives of the Society managed to locate a ladder to rescue the bird, but were surprised to meet the superintendent of the building who told them that he was the one who decided to put the glue on the pipes because the birds were causing great damage to the vehicles. The superintendent even took away the ladder while he was vehemently objecting to the rescue of the bird. The representatives of the Society explained to him that this was a legally protected bird and the way he chose to act would be considered intentional abuse of birds, which is forbidden by law. The superintendent was not impressed by the warnings and disappeared with the ladder.

While the representatives of the Society contacted the Police and the Nature and Parks Authority, another employee of the building was sent with a ladder to quickly retrieve the bird, before the representatives of the law could arrive. The worker removed the glued bird and threw it down so that it fell on a parked car. The representatives of the Society grabbed the bird, which had been all glued up for hours, and took it for further care to the Wildlife Hospital of the Safari Park.

The Wildlife Hospital reported that the swallow arrive in a bad state in which glue covered its body and prevented it from flying. The employees of the hospital cleaned the swallow and gave it supportive treatment, but the next day it died, apparently from breathing poisonous fumes from the glue.
Representatives of the Society registered a complaint, with the Police and with the Nature and Parks Authority, for abuse of animals, against the maintenance crew of the building. The next day the inspector from the Nature and Parks Authority came to the Society to gather evidence. Similarly, a request from the Society was presented to the office of the Minister for Environmental Protection, Gilad Ardan, to clarify the precise wording of the law in everything regarding the legislation concerning the prohibiting of the use of glue against animals. According to Dr. Deganit Ben Dov, who is responsible for enforcing the law about animal abuse in the Department of Agriculture, this case would be regarded as being under suspicion as a criminal act of animal abuse, whether it were in regard to a protected animal or a non-protected animal. Furthermore, the legislature fixed a sentence of three years of incarceration for the perpetrators of such a crime.

We at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel are working against abuse of animals and for the rescue of every animal in need of help. We hope that the publication of this current case will bring a change in the way people cope with the phenomenon of birds, since there are more humane ways of dealing with this type of problem.