SWAN attacked and drowned two dogs that ventured too close
to its nest in a public park. The cob, fiercely protective
of his mate and their six cygnets, used its wings to beat
and drown the family pets which had invaded the birds
island home on a millpond in the Carrs Park at Warsop, Nottinghamshire.
Animal welfare groups have described the recent killings as extremely rare, but Mansfield District Council, which runs the park, is warning local dog-owners that a failure to keep them under control may leave more pets facing a similar fate.
The adult swans, known locally as Edward and Sophie, made the park their home three years ago when they chased away a rival pair and built a nest in reeds by the edge of the island, a haven for wildlife.
Edward, according to park staff, has a reputation for guarding his territory jealously and has been known to chase away any human beings who stray too near to his family.
Staff were initially puzzled to receive a report that a dead dog had been spotted floating in the pond, which once served a nearby flour mill. They thought the pet might have been the victim of human mistreatment, until the second killing was seen on May 16 by George Kennedy, who chairs the Friends of the Carrs organisation.
Mr Kennedy, 53, watched as a Springer Spaniel leapt into the water and began to chase a variety of waterfowl. "Its owner, a man, was calling the dog to come out of the pond but it wouldnt obey," he said.
"The dog was in there for about 15 minutes and the cob completely ignored it until it began to get close to the nest, where the female was sitting with the cygnets under her.
"When the spaniel got too close, the cob reacted by raising its wing and hitting the dog across its back. It then folded its wing over the dog and took it under the surface, holding it there for a few minutes. When the animal finally came up, it was obviously dead."
Tim Wass, the RSPCAs eastern region superintendent, said: "This incident is the first of its kind that I have heard in 18 years with the RSPCA."