Blood, sweat and feathers
IT WAS a 'swan song' featuring a brave rescue in Ice House Hill park after a dramatic bid to capture an injured bird on Saturday last.
The drama began when gardaí contacted the Louth Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA) after reports came in from the public that a swan was injured and bleeding heavily close to the pond.
According to LSPCA voluntary inspector Fiona Squibb, the animal was in a distressed state when they arrived.
'There were some reports that the swan might have been shot. But when we got a look at the injury it was more likely to have been the result of a dog attack or other animal, as it was a cut on its jawline that was bleeding.'
She explained that it was clear the swan needed veterinary attention and would have to be captured first.
'We had great difficulty trying to rescue it, as it was in great distress and was trying to protect the female swan.'
She paid tribute to local man Brendan Connolly who followed the bird with a blanket and managed to seize it, but only after he fell into the pond in freezing temperatures!
'Brendan did a fantastic job of getting the blanket around it, which then calmed it down, and we were able to take it directly to the Avenue Road vets where the injury was treated,' said Fiona. 'We were very conscious that we had to take it back to the female, so once the wound was seen to we took it back down the park again.'
Further reports the following day of the swan bleeding heavily saw the LSPCA back at the park on Sunday morning.
'It actually looked worse than it was, I think he kept rubbing the wound against the ground which caused a bit of bleeding. But it was doing a lot better, and even had the strength to have a go at us so we thought it must be getting its strength back!'
She also paid tribute to residents of O'Hanlon Park who gathered in large crowds at the scene, with bread pieces to feed the injured bird and his female counterpart.
As the park is popular with dog walkers, the LSPCA inspector warned people to keep their dogs away from the swans.
'We are hoping to remove both swans at some stage this week and take them back down to Dundalk Bay. The park is not normally a place where swans gather, and it would be safer for them in the long run to relocate them back to open waters.'