Report from Ken Harwood 26th May 2013



This morning whilst out walking my dog with other dog walkers, we got to Hedgecourt Lake.


At this moment in time it is worthwhile making a visit to what is the jewel in the crown of Felbridge, i.e the lake.


Our resident swans have produced yet another brood as well as several ducks doing the same.


In respect of the swans: This is a really stressful time for them trying to avoid/evade what they perceive to be predators of all description.


Whilst they look all sweetness and light, when the chips are down, a male swan in fighting mode is not something I would want to face!


Bearing that all that in mind, what did we witness this morning?


An irresponsible dog owner putting his own dog at severe risk of being injured and/or drowned by the male swan. Drowning is one of many methods the swans use to overcome predators.


This dog owner, without, one assumes giving it any thought, encouraged his dog into the water. Patrolling just off the beach was the male swan in obvious defensive mode (wings raised and covering the surface in rapid time).


Before you could blink, the swan was up and out of the water, wings beating, feet kicking out, launching itself at the dog who was taken by surprise.


The swan then went onto to climb on top of the dog and attempted to push it under the surface.


I called out to the dog owner to get his dog out of the water. The response?


A very aggressive comment back, "Don't tell me what to do with my dog!"


I then reminded him that with young on the lake it was not fair or appropriate to put dogs in the water close to the swans. He simply carried on.


I wonder what his response would have been if his faithful old friend had been drowned?


Doesn't bear thinking off, does it?


Irresponsible is the way I would describe the personís actions.


I would politely ask /remind all animal owners not to let your pets go into the lake at the moment, for lots of reasons. The most important being: the safety of your pet and to prevent undue stress to the swans/ducks etc who are trying to raise their young.