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Dog owners urged to use common sense following swan attack

The injured swan with Jan Harrigan at Wychbold Swan Rescue
The injured swan with Jan Harrigan at Wychbold Swan Rescue

A terrified swan has been left with horrific injuries after being attacked by a dog on the River Avon in Stratford.

The attack occurred last Wednesday with reports that a dog running free had pounced on the bird, with its owner nowhere in sight.

Cyril Bennis of Stratford Swan Rescue says the incident was totally avoidable, had the dog been kept on a lead, and is urging other dog owners to take such action when down on the river.

Cyril said: “We had a call from a member of the public saying that they had spotted a swan in distress down near the lock at Holy Trinity Church.

“I went down and a man told me he had seen what happened, he told me a husky-type dog had chased two swans down there, one managed to get away but the other was rugby tackled by this dog as it landed. The owner was no-where in sight when all this was happening.

“At first I couldn’t find it, I know we have a pair of breeding birds down there but I could only see one. It was only when a local farmer who was tending to some fallen trees spotted it and told me where it was that I eventually got to it.

“It was just in an awful state when I got there, it had four deep puncture wounds. I took it straight to the Ark Veterinary Practice who were magnificent, treating the animal right away. It’s currently being cared for at the sanctuary at Wychbold but it’s still touch and go. It was very seriously injured and there’s no chance of it going back to the river at the moment because of the risk of infection.

“It’s taken a big team effort to find and help this swan and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved.

“The terrible thing is that this was all totally unnecessary, the owner of the dog was just not there. Dog owners simply need to keep their animals on a lead when they are down on the river and there’s wildlife about, it’s not the dog’s fault, they are natural predators. I think some owners simply just don’t care or they think it’s funny to see their dogs chase other animals, but it’s not.

“I do approach dog owners sometimes to ask them to put their animals on a lead, but often I just get sworn at.

“This latest attack was horrific, owners need to use their common sense and simply keep their dogs on a lead, they have to take responsibility for them, if they can’t do that then it’s them who need to go to training school, not their dogs.”

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