AN ANIMAL sanctuary has hit out and issued a warning after a cygnet had to be put down after being badly wounded by a dog in Andover.

The Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital was called to help the cygnet at Rooksbury Mill on September 25 after receiving a report that the bird was spotted bleeding badly.

It is believed a dog had attacked the animal, grabbing its wing which caused it to break, but the hospital team was unable to rescue the bird as it was on the water until September 27.

Care supervisor Marilyn Korkis said: “When we got to the bird we saw that it had a badly broken wing and they don’t normally get that sort of thing if they have bashed into something, it clearly had had quite a lot of trauma and had a fracture.”

It was decided that the cygnet would have to euthanised as it would not have recovered.

Marilyn added: “As soon as it was spotted that the bird had a broken wing it was almost an immediate decision to euthanise it.

“For the bird the attack must have been so traumatic.”

Marilyn said that attacks on swans and their young are regular occurrences in Andover due to the number of dog walking routes in the town in attractive open areas.

“I think Andover has always had a bit of a problem as there are so many lovely walks around there.

“They [dog owners] have got to be more responsible and have to think ahead, if they know there is wildlife where they are walking then they have got to put their dogs on leads, even if it is just past where the wildlife live.

“People have just got to be more aware and think about where they are walking.”

She added: “It is not the dog’s fault, it is entirely down to the owners, it is down to their responsibility to look after their dogs and call their dogs back.”

The incident followed another attack on a swan, this time in Anton Lakes, in which the bird was badly injured after it was set upon by a dog.