A male swan in Sunderland was found dead after being attacked by a dog.
Animal rescue workers said the swan, which was found with his female partner and five cygnets, probably died trying to protect them.
It is so sad to see something like this. I think he was probably trying to protect his familyDiane Hindmarch
Diane Hindmarch, a Wearside volunteer for the Swan Trust charity, said she was called to the scene at lunchtime on Tuesday, by a police support officer, to what was initially thought to have been a swan that was shot.
However, when she arrived at the area near Silksworth Lakes, she found the male swan dead from attack wounds close to a play area, with the female and babies sitting nearby.
Diane said: “There was a blood trail where he had tried to get away, but it was a dog attack because you could see the bite marks in his neck.
“It is so sad to see something like this. I think he was probably trying to protect his family.”
Diane said this pair of swans lived on the lower lake where not as many people walk.
She said: “I don’t think they got fed as much down there, so had walked up to the playground area probably looking for food.”
Now, Diane is hoping someone might have seen the incident and come forward and is also urging people to keep their dogs on the lead near the swans.
RSPCA Animal Collection Officer, Terry Haley, said: “The RSPCA works closely with the Swan Trust and we are grateful they were able to step in this morning to deal with this sad incident.
“The Swan Trust volunteer reported that the male swan had fatal injuries consistent with a dog attack. On a happier note, the female swan and their cygnets were unharmed.
“We see a number of terrible injuries like this, and would urge people to keep their dogs under control when they’re around wildlife and birds. Swans, their nests and their eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
“While we understand there were not any witnesses, if anyone has any information about this incident they can contact the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
A witness said they saw the male swan alive at 9am, so it is throught he was killed sometime between then and noon.