By Oliver Farrimond
A “CALLOUS” dog owner is being hunted after a mute swan was found with brutal bite injuries at Port Seton in East Lothian.
Passers-by found the bird, whose injuries were so severe it had to be put down, on a beach at around 10am on Saturday (28th Aug).
And now inspectors are hunting for the owner of the dog, which is believed to be a Staffordshire bull terrier.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that the owner of the dog was seen running into the bushes when spotted by witnesses.
Jenny Scott, an inspector with the SSPCA, said: “We were contacted by a member of the public who witnessed a Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog attacking the swan on the beach, to its severe injury.
“The witness alleges that the owner of the dog did not try to get the dog off the swan and when he became aware of the witness’ presence, he ran off into the bushes and into Port Seton Caravan Park.
“The swan sustained severe and deep bite wounds to its back and when I arrived it was lying in a pool of water, and was very subdued and no doubt in a tremendous amount of pain.
“Sadly the only humane option was to put it to sleep.”
One eyewitness, who did not want to be named, said that the “callous” owner had allowed the dog to attack the swan repeatedly.
The onlooker said: “He couldn’t care less and still allowed his dog to chase birds, including another four swans.
“He continued to walk up and down the beach, allowing his dog to run wild.
“I cannot understand how someone could be so callous, it clearly was injured.
“If the dog could do this to the swan, what could it do to a child? This was so irresponsible.”
The owner of the dog is believed to have been male and wearing jeans and a brown top, and was walking his dog off the lead at the time of the attack.
According to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to intentionally kill, take or injure a wild swan.
Jenny added: “Incidents like this are entirely preventable if owners take the necessary precautions and keep their dogs on the lead near wildlife and wild birds in particular.”
“Allowing or encouraging your dog to attack a wild animal is an offence.
“We are keen for anyone who witnessed the attack or recognises the description of the dog or the owner to call the Scottish SPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.”