Dog owners have been urged to consider the wildlife before letting their pets run free after a swan was mauled to death yesterday. 

The upsetting incident happened at Anton Lakes on Sunday morning in front of shocked walkers. 

A witness on Facebook has described the incident, in which a swan was “attacked and killed” by a dog that had been let off its lead.

She said that she and another onlooker did all they could to help the swan, but it was “bleeding so badly” that it died in her arms.

Animal welfare officer, Rod Mason, said: “It’s incredibly sad to hear about the incident at Anton Lakes over the weekend. While we do have signage in place to remind owners to please keep their distance and minimise disturbance to the wildlife, we are ultimately reliant on the owners and walkers to act responsibly while enjoying the nature reserve. We manage a number of wildlife sites, but they are not under constant supervision, which is why we rely on responsible dog owners.

“We would encourage people to please consider that the wildlife living in these nature reserves are likely to roam the area, which may trigger a dog’s instinct to chase after the animal. Regardless of how well trained you may believe your dog is, we advise that your dog is on a lead in places such as Anton Lakes where other wildlife may be present. This may have avoided this terrible incident.

“Swans and other animals call Anton Lakes their home and it is important that dog owners take responsibility and retain control of their dogs. There may be parts of a walk that your dog can run off freely but our advice is to keep dogs on leads around the lake.”