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Wildlife-lover ‘distressed’ after dog kills swan at Hornchurch Country Park

PUBLISHED: 11:59 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:17 30 August 2016

The body of a swan believed to have been killed by a dog in Hornchurch Country Park on Monday /Credit: Brenda Clayton

The body of a swan believed to have been killed by a dog in Hornchurch Country Park on Monday /Credit: Brenda Clayton

Archant

A wildlife-lover said she was “distressed” after recovering the dead body of a swan that was attacked by a dog.

A volunteer at the Essex Wildlife Trust urged walkers to keep their dog on a lead when approaching wildlife after a swan was killed by a dog in Hornchurch Country Park yesterday.

Brenda Clayton, who was working at the Ingrebourne Valley Visitors Centre, rushed to the scene after a man reported seeing a Staffordshire Bull Terrier attacking the animal in Albyn Farm lake at about 9.30am.

Ms Clayton found the body of the dead swan in the woods by the lake.

“It was horrific,” she said.

“It managed to drag itself to the woods. As I bird-watcher and I wildlife-lover, I am quite distressed after seeing the dead swan. This is something that happens and we are quite concerned.

“I think dogs should be kept on lead when approaching wildlife,” she added.

The swan was taken to a wildlife hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The attack comes after a goose was killed by a dog a few months ago near the same lake and a small dog was also attacked in the park last week.

Dave McGough, another volunteer at the centre and a wildlife photographer, said the number of incidents with Staffy dogs has increased in recent weeks.

“This is something the public should be made aware of,” he said.

“It is really upsetting to see it happen, especially in front of children.

“To kill a swan takes quite a lot. When we found its bloody body, it had a massive wound in its side and stomach.

“This is a growing trend and it is something that could happen to children. I am weary myself. I have been harassed by these dogs several times going along.

“I am not criticising those dogs and I am sure in most cases there are very nice family pets but what do you do if they sometimes act like that.”

Mr McGough called for a special area to be dedicated for dog owners to be able to walk their pets away from the wildlife and other visitors.

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