A Pennsylvania man has been issued a summons from the state Department of Environmental Protection in connection with the death of a sea gull on an Ocean City beach in July.

DEP spokesman Bob Considine said Tuesday that the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement, began an investigation July 29 into the incident, and that subsequently a summons was issued to Dennis Reagle, 37, of Tarenttum, Pennsylvania, for possessing exotic or non-game wildlife without a permit.

Reagle told Ocean City police who responded to the scene of the incident that he had hit the bird with a rolled-up towel, breaking its wing and knocking it into the water, as he defended his 2-year-old daughter from the gull, which was pecking at her face and head as she ate. He told police he removed the struggling bird from the water and that it expired on the way to a trash can.

A fine will be determined by municipal court, Considine said, adding that no mandatory court appearance is required for the violation.

Ocean City has experienced an increase in aggressive sea gull behavior this year, with several birds invading Boardwalk stores in August. Some stores have begun experimenting with noise deterrents in an effort to keep the gulls from dive-bombing patrons as they step away from food outlets.

The city also reminds visitors it is illegal to feed the gulls by making frequent announcements over the Boardwalk public address system.

Contact: 609-463-6719

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