Advice to dog owners after young swan is killed

Dog owners are being urged to look out for wildlife when walking their pets and consider putting their dogs on leads if they encounter any.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 9:00 am
Dog walkers are being encouraged to keep their pets on leads near wildlife.

The advice comes following an incident in Holywell Dene, Seaton Sluice, where a dog recently killed a young female swan.

Since this incident, Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service has received an increase in the number of calls from concerned residents who have witnessed dogs chasing ducks, ducklings and swans.

There have also been reports in rural Northumberland of dogs worrying or mauling sheep, including an incident in the Ingram Valley.

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Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member with responsibility for environment and local services, said: “Your dog may be a loving, friendly pet, but if they are off the lead, they may think it is a fun game to run around with these animals.

“Unfortunately, it is not a game and these animals often get scared, injured or killed as a result.

"Wildlife may also approach humans looking for food and a dog could see this as a threat.

“We are grateful to the majority of responsible dog walkers in our communities, that love to watch the local wildlife.

"Our green spaces are places for everyone. We want to urge all owners to please think of others and to keep your dog close by and under control.

"If it doesn’t have a good recall, then keep it on a lead. This way we can ensure that every person and animal is kept safe.”

It is an offence to allow your pet to worry, kill or maul sheep and their lambs, and owners should keep their dogs on a lead at all times when around them.

Nesting birds can also be found in ponds, streams, rivers and rock pools, and they should not be disturbed during this important time of the year for their nests and eggs.

Swans are particularly defensive of their young, and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, all birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law.