Swan hurt in likely dog attack caught, treated then freed

A Scottish SPCA officer captures the injured swan so it can receive treatment. Picture: TRIM
A Scottish SPCA officer captures the injured swan so it can receive treatment. Picture: TRIM
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A swan has been welcomed back with open wings by his brood after he was injured in a suspected dog attack.

The adult male bird, known as a cob, was taken to the vets after shocked residents saw him covered in blood in Forthquarter Park, Granton, and assumed he was badly hurt.

But he refused to come quietly, making what has been described as an “unholy racket” as animal rescue officers fought to capture him on Thursday.

Fortunately this wasn’t his swansong and the father-of-four cygnets was reunited with his brood and partner, known as a pen, just two hours later, suffering a few ruffled feathers but otherwise none the worse for his ordeal.

Vets who had cleaned him up discovered a small graze on his beak and it is understood that blood was spread over the feathers as he preened himself, making the wound appear far worse than it was.

Robert Pearson, chairman of Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (Trim), said: “As soon as he came back he ran straight over to his family and things were back to normal. He was calling the shots again and his family was soon following him around.”

He added: “The residents have been down again since to see them and he was absolutely fine.”

Witnesses reported that SPCA welfare officers had a “battle” on their hands as the swan resisted all efforts to take him from his family.

Swans, which mate for life, are renowned for their loyalty and are fiercely protective of their young.

A source said: “I believe it was a fairly long battle and he was fairly vocal about being captured, bellowing and screeching.”

Within six hours of photographs of the injured swan being posted on the Trim website, it had recorded 20,000 hits. Mr Pearson said: “It just shows how popular these animals are. Residents often go down and take pictures of them and feed them.”

Darren Malcolm, the animal rescue officer who captured the reluctant patient, said: “The swan had a lot of blood on him and I took him to a vets for assessment.

“He was exhausted and had a small graze to his beak, although the vet was unsure how he had sustained the injury.

“The swan was given pain relief and antibiotics and I was able to return him to the water later in the day to be reunited with his family.

“There has been an indication that he may have been injured by a dog, although we can’t say for sure.

“However, we would remind people to keep their dogs on a lead and under control when there are wild animals nearby.”