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It’s not hearsay to report dogs attacking swans on the Heath

31 October, 2019

Injured swan that was taken to a sanctuary but later died [Photo: Louisa Green]

• RESPONDING to letter (Dogs seem to get the blame for everything, October 24), I would say that nobody is deliberately or unfairly blaming dogs for the swan attacks that have occurred regularly on the Heath.

In 2011 I wrote a letter to your newspaper reminding readers of the death of an adult male swan on one of the ponds after a vicious dog attack as I had been witness to a dog attacking a young cygnet, which needed to be rescued and taken to the swan sanctuary; otherwise it would have died.

As Louisa Green said (Family of Heath cygnets reduced to five after suspected dog attack, October 10) those of us who regularly visit the swans and appreciate watching them have also felt the need to appeal to dog walkers to keep their dogs under better control where the family(s) of swans are.

Over the many years I have been visiting the swans I have regularly been witness to out-of-control dogs threatening and even attacking the swans and cygnets and there are records of this. I have seen photos of these attacks and I have filmed it happening myself. It is not hearsay.

As an animal lover I would not be happy with dogs being accused of crimes they have not committed as it is the dog owners’ responsibility to keep them under control. It is not the dogs’ fault.

To go one step further and then try to blame badgers or foxes for swan casualties is also unfair, particularly when badger sightings in Hampstead are very rare.

As it is badgers are a persecuted species being blamed for the spread of bovine TB. Even though many experts claim killing badgers is not the solution it has been reported that 64,000 badgers are due to be killed this autumn here in the United Kingdom, which is very sad.

I would suggest that blaming any animal wrongly can have serious implications and is not appropriate. Much better to respond to the reality of the situation and work to change the outcome.

Sandstone Place, N19


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