Plea to dog owners after swan is killed in South Hill Park

Published: 25 Jul 2013 09:006 comments

DOG owners are being warned to keep their pets under control after a cygnet was killed at North Lake, opposite South Hill Park.

It is believed the baby swan was savaged by a canine sometime last Wednesday.

Jo Machin, of South Hill Park Wildlife Protection Group, was devastated by the news and says there have been several incidents involving dogs chasing wildlife recently.

For the full story, buy a copy of the Bracknell News, out today for just 60p.

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  • dogboy
    1 post
    Jul 25, 11:11
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    It was killed by a Fox but I guess the sensationalist headline wouldn't have been there if you actually used facts. Cygnet killed by Fox, doesn't have quite the same effect does it?, morons.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 1

  • bracknelldave
    1 post
    Jul 26, 12:37
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    As a responsible owner along with other members of South Hill Park Dog Walker I feel the other side of the story should be heard before all you anti dog people decide to put all dog owners into one class

    Firstly regarding this article

    There has been no evidence or witness to the death of this cygnet, it was discovered early one morning last week.

    Staff of South Hill Park and Environmental Health, say it had teeth marks on it from either a fox or dog.

    The article does not mention there is a fox den less than 100m away from where the cygnet was found. South hill park / North lake has a very large dog population all them are aware of the swans and move away from them as all us dog walkers know the male swan is very hostile towards other wildlife and people while caring for its young.

    Dogs should be able to have the freedom to have a run around the same as any other wildlife and children as long as there is control, there are dogs that do enjoy the water but as responsible owners we let them swim in the opposite end of the lake to where the swan. are normally seen. When you see the dogs in the lake the one thing on their mind is to retreive their favourite ball or toy. Swimming is also good for dogs as it their joints and muscles and is excellent for arthritic dogs.

    As a responsible dog group we are also keen to preserve the wildlife in the lake, only a few days ago we rescued baby frogs from getting trappled on in one of our hottest days, removing to the safety of the lakes banks.

    Members of the Wildlife protection group are not always doing their best to help preserve our local wildlife. On a daily basis the ducks, geese and the swans including the cygnets are being fed white bread a source of carbohydrates but they offer little other nutritional value. In fact, bread is the equivalent to junk food for the birds, and too much bread can lead to excessive weight and malnutrition as well as many other problems

    Why Bread is Bad for Ducks

    Not only can bread be fattening to ducks and make it harder for them to fly and otherwise evade predators, feeding ducks bread can also lead to other problems.

    • Duckling Malnutrition: In an area where ducks are regularly fed bread, ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Furthermore, because ducks will naturally seek out an easy food source such as human handouts, ducklings will not learn to forage for natural foods as easily.

    • Angel Wing: too much bread causing Angel Wing which is rife at Mill Pond these poor birds often starve & lose the ability to fly.

    • Pollution: When too much bread is offered to ducks, not all of it will be eaten. The soggy, uneaten bread is unsightly and rotting bread can create noxious odors as well as lead to greater algae growth that can clog natural waterways. This concentrates the pollution and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity.

    • Diseases: Feeding ducks bread can increase the spread of diseases in two ways. First, a carbohydrate-rich diet leads to greater defecation, and bird feces easily harbor bacteria responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Second, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can decimate entire duck and waterfowl flocks.

    • Pest Attraction: Rotting supplies of food leftover from sated ducks will attract other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans.

    • Loss of Natural Behavior: When birds become accustomed to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive in order to get more food. Their loss of fear can also cause other dangers, such as a willingness to cross busy roads in order to reach picnickers and other likely sources of food.

    Environmentally conscious birders will refrain from offering any bread to ducks to avoid dietary problems and other issues caused by a carbohydrate-rich diet.

    Wild ducks and waterfowl can live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects rather than taking handouts from well-meaning humans. If you still want to feed the ducks – and doing so can be an enchanting experience – there are many healthier alternatives to offer them instead of bread. Great foods to feed ducks include:

    • Grapes cut in half

    • Cracked corn, barley, oats, birdseed or other grains

    • Frozen peas that have been defrosted

    • Duck feed pellets available from farm supply stores

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 1

  • RubyShoes
    1 post
    Jul 26, 17:29
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    I live in the area and I have 2 dogs myself, I used to walk my dogs in the Park I knew most other walkers and it was pleasant. It's not hard to put the dogs on a lead when near the wildlife (but you can see dogs all the time being allowed to chase ducks, swans, squirrels anything that moves).

    South Hill Park since refurbishment has become a minefield of uncontrolled dogs, owners to precious to pick up the poop and with - no consideration for anyone else it's all about their entitlement - and from a wider area too. My daughter won't visit since her 4 year old was chased by a labrador on the terrace (where there is a dogs must be on lead sign) while the owners looked on vaguely bothering to call at it. And if you complain you get a diatribe of abuse.

    We are lucky in Bracknell there are many areas around us for offlead exercise. Swinley Forest is a 10 min walk from South Hill. I'd like to see an on-lead policy adopted for recreational areas such as South Hill it would protect the dog owner as much as other users of the space.

    This won't be the last incident I am sure and heaven forbid if next time it's a child... it will be those of us that are responsible owners and live in the area that will have to deal with the consequences the irresponsible ones just won't care.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • D8000F
    1 post
    Jul 26, 18:09
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    I live in the area and it used to be lovely, quiet and peaceful place to walk the dogs. There were few dogwalkers who mostly knew each other and their dogs.

    Since the refurbishment of South Hill Park there has been rather large influx of dogs. What used to be pleasant walk, has become an assautult course of dodging unruly off-lead dogs, often in packs, and any attempt to suggest to their owners to put their dogs on lead results in verbal abuse.

    It has gotten so bad that we have to take our dogs elsewhere where we can have a nice walk without being harrassed by off-lead dogs.

    The best thing would be legislation that dogs have to be always on-lead in residential and urban common areas. Obviously it would need to be also enforced.

    There are plenty of places to let dogs run free. For exmaple Swinley Forest is only a stones throw away.

    And bracknelldave, please don't tarnish all dog owners by "putting all dog owners in one class" as I for one recognise that ultimately pet dog is still a wolf and never 100% in control no matter how much you think it might be. I prefer to be safe and have my dogs safe and choose more suitable environments for them to run free.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • Fleggy09
    1 post
    Jul 27, 13:35
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    Wouldn't a fox have taken it away and eaten it?

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0

  • Jennymo
    1 post
    Jul 28, 12:18
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    I recently received a verbal attack from a member of the Wildlife Protection Group for walking my dog off her lead. We never walk on the paths or near the water and she was perfectly under control, with the signets nowhere in sight.I have taken my dog on specialist training to avoid birds (as a neighbouring resident the swans and signets sometimes come into our front garden so this was necessary). Not all dog owners are irresponsible and should not be judged this way. This is a community space for all to use responsibly including children, fisherman, sports groups and dog walkers. It is not for the exclusive enjoyment of over zealous bird watchers.

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0