'Dogs attacked' by ostrich-like birds running amok in Hertfordshire

27 March 2021, 14:01 | Updated: 27 March 2021, 14:04

The rhea birds look like ostriches but are smaller in size
The rhea birds look like ostriches but are smaller in size. Picture: Herts Police

By Sam Sholli

Dog-walkers have been warned to be aware of up to 20 wild birds roaming Hertfordshire housing estates in recent days, following reports some have been attacked.

The rhea birds, which look like ostriches but are smaller in size, will be sent to an animal reserve when captured, police have said.

They have been spotted in residential areas in Maple Cross, close to the M25, according to police.

There have been reports of some of the birds, which are flightless, attacking dogs and deer while out on the loose.

Herts Police have said that they initially attempted to identify an owner of the birds but have now concluded the animals are wild.

PC Christian Gottmann, from the Rickmansworth and District Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “These birds are certainly an unusual sight on the streets of Three Rivers, and we want to reassure the public that we are working in partnership with the council, highways and our Rural Operational Support Team to come up with a plan to capture and re-home the birds to a suitable animal reserve.

“Enquiries are ongoing but if you think you may be able to help with this, please get in touch with us. In the meantime, we would advise the public not to approach these animals as they are very fast, much like their larger counterparts, and can be aggressive if cornered.

“Unfortunately we have received reports of them attacking dogs and deer, so we ask that dog owners are vigilant when out walking.”