Council proposing 'dogs on lead' zones after swans killed in savage attacks

Swans at Spike Island

Swans at Spike Island

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Chief Reporter

A SWAN has been killed in a savage attack by a dog at a Widnes beauty spot.

Volunteer water bailiff Les Stewart found the mutilated body of the bird beside the locks at Spike Island at around 6.30am on Wednesday, May 8 whilst walking his dog.

It is the latest in a spate of attacks on swans at the Mersey Road marina.

Les, aged 60, from West Bank, said: “Its neck had been ripped apart and there were great big lumps of feather and flesh.

“We have found five dead swans in the last couple of months.

“It sickens me. They have definitely been been attacked by dogs as nothing had fed on it.”

Les, who gives up his time as a children’s angling coach, is urging animal lovers to keep their dogs on leads.

He found a swan with a damaged wing three weeks ago and the RSPCA rescued it.

He said: “I want people to keep control of their dogs. This is my back garden. I fish down there and do a lot of litter picking.

“This is a brilliant place to live. There’s a lovely community spirit. I love so much nature on our doorstep. The amount of flora and fauna is unbelievable.”

A mum-of-three, aged 36, who used to live in West Bank, said: “This was a really horrific attack. it would have been upsetting if my children had seen it.” A SWAN has been killed in a savage attack by a dog at a Widnes beauty spot.

Volunteer water bailiff Les Stewart found the mutilated body of the bird beside the locks at Spike Island at around 6.30am on Wednesday, May 8 whilst walking his dog.

It is the latest in a spate of attacks on swans at the Mersey Road marina.

Les, aged 60, from West Bank, said: “Its neck had been ripped apart and there were great big lumps of feather and flesh.

“We have found five dead swans in the last couple of months.

“It sickens me. They have definitely been been attacked by dogs as nothing had fed on it.”

Les, who gives up his time as a children’s angling coach, is urging animal lovers to keep their dogs on leads.

He found a swan with a damaged wing three weeks ago and the RSPCA rescued it.

He said: “I want people to keep control of their dogs. This is my back garden. I fish down there and do a lot of litter picking.

“This is a brilliant place to live. There’s a lovely community spirit. I love so much nature on our doorstep. The amount of flora and fauna is unbelievable.”

A mum-of-three, aged 36, who used to live in West Bank, said: “This was a really horrific attack. it would have been upsetting if my children had seen it.”

A spokesman for Halton Council's open spaces services said: "The Council is aware of these incidents and we are looking at introducing ‘dogs on lead' zones at Spike Island.

"We are at an early stage in that process and we will consult with the public in due course.

"The canal area where the swans congregate are included in the area that would become ‘dogs on leads’."

 

Comments (3)

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2:38pm Wed 14 May 14

lisagordon says...

This is terrible. If your dog is likely to attack or at least bother a swan then it shouldn't be off a lead in the first place. No doubt enforcing dogs on leads will fall on deaf ears with these owners as they may have targeted the swans deliberately! Five dead swans in a couple of months is not normal so maybe wardens or CCTV should be set up to catch them in the act!
This is terrible. If your dog is likely to attack or at least bother a swan then it shouldn't be off a lead in the first place. No doubt enforcing dogs on leads will fall on deaf ears with these owners as they may have targeted the swans deliberately! Five dead swans in a couple of months is not normal so maybe wardens or CCTV should be set up to catch them in the act! lisagordon
  • Score: 8

3:12pm Wed 14 May 14

flumoxed says...

I agree with above comment, we walk our dog at spike island nearly every day, and have seen owners who have no responsibility for their dogs, letting them run at the wildlife, and not picking up after them. We have been told in the past that there is an 'Element' present later on in the Evening down at Spike Island so maybe more of a police presence and CCTV would be better!! There are little enough places to safely exercise our dogs off leads as it is
I agree with above comment, we walk our dog at spike island nearly every day, and have seen owners who have no responsibility for their dogs, letting them run at the wildlife, and not picking up after them. We have been told in the past that there is an 'Element' present later on in the Evening down at Spike Island so maybe more of a police presence and CCTV would be better!! There are little enough places to safely exercise our dogs off leads as it is flumoxed
  • Score: 8

6:55pm Mon 19 May 14

DWTyke says...

I have two dogs and I would like to think they would never attack swans or anything else but you can never be 100% certain. They are dogs after all. For that reason I would never walk my dogs off the lead near wildlife. Sadly, some dog owners think their dogs are somehow special. We walk our dogs in Victoria Park everyday and the number of people who allow their dogs to run free beggars belief. These people completely ignore the signs clearly stating that dogs should be kept on the lead. Sadly, no one seems to mind and these rules are rarely enforced by park wardens. These are the same people committing the same offence, day in, day out, in an area that is clearly monitored by CCTV but no one seems to give a ****. My own dogs have been attacked on several occasions by small yappy things whose owners have no recall or control over their animals. And let's not fool ourselves, these are not 'Yobs' with weapon dogs. They look just like you and me and their dogs tend to wear little bows and fluffy pink coats. More needs to be done to enforce the rules and regulations concerning the control of dogs in parks and near wildlife. I won't hold my breath though, even where there are people employed to do this, they clearly have better things to do with their time.
I have two dogs and I would like to think they would never attack swans or anything else but you can never be 100% certain. They are dogs after all. For that reason I would never walk my dogs off the lead near wildlife. Sadly, some dog owners think their dogs are somehow special. We walk our dogs in Victoria Park everyday and the number of people who allow their dogs to run free beggars belief. These people completely ignore the signs clearly stating that dogs should be kept on the lead. Sadly, no one seems to mind and these rules are rarely enforced by park wardens. These are the same people committing the same offence, day in, day out, in an area that is clearly monitored by CCTV but no one seems to give a ****. My own dogs have been attacked on several occasions by small yappy things whose owners have no recall or control over their animals. And let's not fool ourselves, these are not 'Yobs' with weapon dogs. They look just like you and me and their dogs tend to wear little bows and fluffy pink coats. More needs to be done to enforce the rules and regulations concerning the control of dogs in parks and near wildlife. I won't hold my breath though, even where there are people employed to do this, they clearly have better things to do with their time. DWTyke
  • Score: 4

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