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Dublin: 9°C Monday 25 October 2021

Warning signs ordered for pond in Dublin's Bushy Park after dog killed by swan

The dog was swimming in the duck pond near a group of swans and cygnets when it was attacked.

Bushy Park,Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland
Bushy Park,Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland
Image: The Irish Image Collection/Zuma Press/PA Images

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL IS to erect temporary signs to alert people of the danger of dogs entering the pond in Bushy Park after one dog was killed by a swan on Saturday. 

The dog, a cocker spaniel, was swimming in the duck pond near a group of swans and cygnets when one of the adult swans attacked and killed it. 

The scene was attended by the park ranger on duty and the district parks officer. The body of the dog was retrieved shortly after. 

A spokesperson from Dublin City Council said:

“Swans are wild birds and while it was only protecting its young, it led to an unfortunate outcome due to the dog swimming in the pond.

“Temporary signage will be put up to alert people of the danger of dogs entering the pond.” 

Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland told TheJournal.ie that he’s never come across a situation in which a swan has killed a dog before.

“I have come across the reverse, so it’s not surprising that the swan would see the dog a threat.

“What happened, in this case, was one of the parents would have seen the dog swimming in the water – an unusual occurrence. He would have seen this as a direct threat to his chicks. 

“Obviously, the cygnets can’t fly and it’s just a natural instinct that kicks in.

Hatch added that at any other time of the year the swan would have backed off but “it’s the way wild animals behave when they’re protecting their chicks”.

He has advised dog-owners to keep their pets on a leash during nesting season. 

Dog off-leash zone.

A survey carried out by DCC found that dogs, vandalism, security and lack of public toilets were the problematic issues raised most frequently by all users of Bushy Park. 

Green Party councillor Patrick Costello told TheJournal.ie the council is “not providing for dogs properly because what we have is a free-for-all”.

“There are certain times of the day that dogs are allowed off their leads in parks,” Costello said adding he’s “constantly getting complaints” about this. 

Costello has previously called on the council to implement dog zone at Bushy Park but was told that the park was too small.

The measure would involve keeping dogs in a restricted space where they could be let off the lead.

Dublin City Council recently published a development plan for Bushy Park in which it has outlined the provision of a new fenced dog off-leash zone.

The project has ranked as being of medium importance.

Costello believes this should be moved up particularly when it is compared to the plan for 178 new car parking spaces at the park – ranked to be of high importance. 

With reporting from Cónal Thomas

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Adam Daly

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