A PASSIONATE animal lover has been accused of not caring after she refused to take in sick birds.

Mel James, of Animel Haven in Mawbray, has turned the birds away because they showed symptoms of Avian Flu.

She said she also concerned that the bird flu is going to take hold because of an apparent lack of concern by the authorities.

Mel - who has dedicated her life and much of her parents' home and nursery business to rescue animals said: "It is something they do not recover from and it breaks my heart to turn them away but I have to protect my other birds and animals."

She said she is angry that birds who have obviously died of Avian Flu near her coastal home are just being left where they are.

"I have seen other birds pecking at their carcasses and dogs sniffing around them. There was one found dead in the children's playground in Allonby. "

She said anyone picking up the birds would need full PPE - and she is considering doing it herself.

"I have spoken to DEFRA but nothing has been done."

In a statement yesterday, DEFRA said it was up to local authorities to clear up dead birds on public land and landowners needed to dispose of birds on private property.

In a statement a spokesman said: "Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

"In Great Britain, if you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

"We then collect some of these birds and test them to help us understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird, not all birds will be collected.

"Wild birds are susceptible to a range of diseases and injuries and not all dead birds will have been infected with avian influenza.

"Where dead birds are not required for surveillance purposes it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcases."

Neither the country of Allerdale councils could be contacted for comment yesterday.