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Warning to dog owners following fatal swan attack at Grand Canal


The badly injured swan found at the Grand Canal

The badly injured swan found at the Grand Canal

The badly injured swan found at the Grand Canal

DOG OWNERS are being urged to keep their dogs under control when walking near waterways after a swan had to be put down after a dog attacked it.

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) responded to a call of an injured swan at the Grand Canal yesterday.

Inspector Liam Kinsella, of the Dublin charity, rushed the wild bird to the vet but it was too badly injured to be rescued and had to be euthanised.

This type of attack is something that the charity encounters on a semi-regular basis, according to Gillian Bird of the DSPCA.


"Swans are quite territorial and they would stay in the area during an attack rather than leave," she explained.

"We pick up a few every year who have been injured but not always this badly. Sometimes they will need to have their wing amputated or they will swim away and develop an infection from a bite," she added.

"We are assuming that this was an accident as there were no witnesses to the attack and not a case of people deliberately setting their dogs on these birds."

The DSPCA is asking members of the public to always keep their dog under control as per the Control of Dogs Act, which requires them to be restrained while walking in public.

The need to keep dogs under control applies even when there are no signs asking that they are on a leash the DSPCA representative pointed out.

This attack happened by the canal but people need to be careful in parks and other waterside settings, according to the group.

"Swans are bigger birds and, therefore, their injuries are more obvious but we don't see the remains of ducks or other birds [as a result of dog attacks]," Ms Bird noted.

"We are asking people to be aware that there are native birds in these places that need to be protected," she added.

"The general consensus is that people are afraid of swans so there may be people out there who think it's funny but it is wrong to allow this to happen."

Two years ago up to 18 swans living on the Grand Canal on Dublin's southside died within just one month as a result of blood poisoning.

The swans had been found dead along the canal between February 25 and March 11, 2011, just as Waterways Ireland began dredging the canal of sediment to allow boats to continue passing it.


The verdict of tests of the dead birds showed that they all died from septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

Waterways Ireland said the dredging process was not likely to have caused the swans any harm and was meant to ensure that any pollutants did not leach or become distributed in a dangerous way.

Swans are more commonly killed by lead poisoning, when they eat items like weights dropped by anglers. Tests ruled out this cause of death in the swans affected in 2011.