Vicious seagulls attacked and killed a Yorkshire terrier in front of a three-year-old child, pet owner Emily Vincent said on 15 July, calling for her local council to destroy the birds.

Vincent, 36, said her dog Roo was outside when the herring gulls - which had been nesting on her roof - swooped down and pecked him to death in front of her distraught three-year-old son, Jace.

"It was like a murder scene - he was on his side in a pool of blood," she told SWNS. "He had crawled back into the house and collapsed."

Vincent said she had been upstairs when Roo, a small dog weighing 2lb (1kg), was attacked in the family's garden in Newquay, Cornwall.

"Jace was with Roo in the garden and then all of a sudden Jace started screaming 'Roo is bleeding'.

"I ran into the kitchen and saw Roo lying on his side and there was blood everywhere.

"Roo had managed to run indoors and then collapsed. Blood was coming out of his head. It was like a murder scene.

"I couldn't get any sense out of Jace initially but then he kept saying the big bird has got a sharp beak. Roo was still breathing so we rushed him to the vets.

"He was initially stable, but he was not responding to anything the vets tried because of the brain damage so he had to be put down."

Vincent added that she was "disgusted" by the response she received from Cornwall Council, which said the birds could not be destroyed as they are a protected species.

Two of her children suffer from epilepsy, and Vincent says she is concerned the gulls could trigger a seizure if they attack again.

"When we got back from the vets I wanted to take it further. I took pictures of the blood and contacted the council to find out what rights I had about getting rid of the nest," she told SWNS.

"I could not get a straight answer from anyone but I was eventually told the seagulls are protected and that I must leave the nest alone."

Local Conservative MP Steve Double called the incident "disturbing" and said he had written to the secretary of state for environment "to ask what can be done to control the seagull population in Cornwall".