01:05AM, Monday 04 November 2013
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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