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Shock over dog attacks on swans

Shock over dog attacks on swans

Francis Batt

Shock over dog attacks on swans

Distressed swan rescue organiser Wendy Hermon is calling for tough sanctions against selfish dog owners after two birds were fatally mauled in a week.

Wendy - who is treatment co-ordinator for the Swan Lifeline charity on Cuckoo Weir Island - says it took 10 minutes for a chocolate coloured labrador dog to kill a swan on the Thames opposite Romney Lock, while its mate watched helplessly.

She said the incident was witnessed by the lock-keeper who called the police. She understood the dog's owner had been spoken to by officers.

She said: "It had taken the dog 10 minutes to kill the swan, I arrived just as it died. Its mate had just sat there. It was one of the few times I nearly broke down in front of people."

The grim incident happened on Tuesday last week. Only a week before another swan was brought into Swan Lifeline with a broken wing after being attacked by a dog on the Brocas at Eton - it died two days later.

Wendy does not believe that either attack was deliberately initiated by the dog's owner.

She said: "It is sheer carelessness. It is not the dog's fault but the owners. We need a new law or bylaw to force people to keep their dogs on a lead by the river or when they are near wildlife."

Volunteers were still searching this morning for a swan spotted by passers-by last night with blood on its neck. It is believed it may have been deliberately shot.

Wendy also received a report about another dog attack this morning and is currently waiting for one of her team to report back.

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