March 9 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A wildlife enthusiast has called on the Queen’s chief swan officer for help after an increasing number of the birds have become victims of attacks.
Roy Spicer, from Acton, near Sudbury, claims that five swans were attacked by dogs around the river Stour in the town’s Croft and water meadow area during the past week alone.
In the past year, seven swans have died as a result of attacks by dogs according to Mr Spicer, who runs the local Swanwatch group.
Earlier this year, Royal swan officers revealed that reports of dog attacks on swans on the Thames had risen sharply, and Mr Spicer fears that situation is being echoed along other riverbanks, including the Stour.
So he has now contacted David Barber, the Queen’s swan marker – whose job it is to oversee the annual census of swans on the Thames on behalf of the Queen – to ask for advice on how to tackle the problem.
Mr Spicer told the EADT: “I have a dog myself so I have nothing against dogs but owners need to keep their eyes open and when they see a swan on the ground or by the riverbank, then put the dog on a lead. One day recently there was a person walking five big collies all together and they were out of control. They were barking and snapping at the swans.
“What people don’t realise is that it doesn’t take a full-blown attack for a dog to kill a swan. It only takes one nip for the swan to become infected which can then prove fatal later.
“Even if they are just chased, they are heavy birds and can often break a leg trying to escape. These swans usually have to be put down.”
Mr Spicer said the police or RSPCA were unable to prosecute without evidence.
So he is asking people to get in touch if they witness an attack of any kind on the swans so that a dossier can be compiled. He has sent records of the attacks to Mr Barber and hopes to persuade the police to patrol the area from time to time.
According to Mr Barber, swans and cygnets are increasingly suffering serious injury or death as a result of mindless vandalism, dog attacks and injuries sustained by ingesting or being caught in abandoned fishing tackle.
Call 07890 145095 if you witness an attack.