A DESPERATE plea for dog owners to put their pets on a lead when there is wildlife about has been made by staff at the Swan Rescue Centre.
It comes after one cygnet died after suffering horrendous injuries after being attacked by a dog near Forge Mill Needle Museum.
The dog had ripped into the back of the swan after it had come out of the water to graze on grass.
Staff at the nearby museum raised the alarm and John Stewart of the Wychbold-based Swan Rescue Centre rushed to the scene but despite the efforts of local vets it died of its injuries.
Jan Harrigan, who runs the centre said: “It’s a big problem with dogs, although it’s really the owners who are at fault. They say ‘my pet would never do such a thing’ but they do, and with devastating results. As soon as the owner sees wildlife they should put their dog on a lead – it’s commonsense.
“In this case it was an awful wound and would have been very painful for it. We did our best for it but the poor thing left us.”
In another dog attack, this time in Stratford, a dog caught a cygnet, its bite snapping the bird’s leg.
“It was a nasty break but it’s leg has been pinned and so far it’s doing all right,” said Jan.
The Swan Rescue Centre at Wychbold is a registered charity and relies totally on donations to pay for the care and vet bills of injured swans.
Jan is prepared to go out to clubs and societies to give talks with a slideshow for a donation or go to the ‘how you can help’ section at www.wychboldswanrescue.co.uk/ .
Jan added: “If you see a swan in distress or one which ‘just does not look right’ please contact us on 07786 434793 or 07867 672758.