Dog kills swan at Sudbury beauty spot

Swans at Sudbury Water Meadow

Swans at Sudbury Water Meadow - Credit:

Concerns have been raised after a swan was killed by a dog on Sudbury’s picturesque common lands.

Police were called by a member of the public who witnessed the attack, which took place on Wednesday afternoon.

It is believed that the lurcher dog chased the swan as it was flapping its wings to take off – and before the owner could get it on a lead.

The bird is thought to have been one of last year’s cygnets born at the site.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that they had been contacted around 3.55pm on Wednesday about the incident on the meadows off Melford Road.

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She said: “Police have been advised of the incident and are talking to the parties involved.

“At this point, it would appear that there was no malicious intent but we are looking into what has happened.”

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The RSPCA has also been informed of the incident.

The Sudbury Common Lands area was designated as a local nature reserve in 1990 and a county wildlife site in 2007. For decades, walkers have happily mingled with the cattle that grazes at the site and the wildlife.

In the autumn the cattle are moved off the site before the river flood plain becomes saturated, but summer grazing continues to hold the key to the maintenance and management of the land.

Common lands ranger, Adrian Walters, did not wish to comment on the details of the swan attack but he has spoken to police officers and to the dog’s owner about the incident.

However he said that the Sudbury Common Lands Charity is working towards the launch of a leaflet aimed at dog walkers using the site.

He added: “This is because of mounting pressure that we have, not just for swans but also livestock, and we need to get the message across that dog owners need to act in a responsible manner or else we will lose the livestock – and the common lands – because they can’t be managed in any other way. Dogs chasing livestock is not an option.”

The leaflet is expected to be launched in May. The charity also intends to run a series of public education sessions with representatives from the local council and police officers present.

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