Swan put down after 'barbaric' incident


A YOUNG swan has had to be put down after his bill was destroyed when a firework deliberately inserted into bread given to him in a Dublin park exploded.

The “barbaric” incident occurred in the Stardust Memorial Park in Coolock, the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said yesterday.

Orla Aungier of the society said it was alerted by a member of the public on Monday night that a swan in the park had an injured beak.

A DSPCA inspector went to the scene alone but, while he could see the swan on the water, darkness meant he was unable to assess the extent of the injuries, she said. The inspector was advised by people in the park it was unsafe for him to work alone there and he left.

When Insp Liam Kinsella went to the scene yesterday morning, he found the injuries inflicted on the 18-month-old bird were consistent with a firework and so “horrific” they could not be repaired and the bird was unable to feed. The swan was taken to the DSPCA centre in Rathfarnham and humanely put down by a vet there.

Insp Kinsella said swans are “defenceless creatures” who give much pleasure to many people. “To see them hurt like this has made me sick.”

Ms Aungier said the bird had severe injuries to his bill. The bottom portion had been blown away, the top bill was separated and the tongue was shredded. This was a “barbaric” act but not the first attack on swans, she said. Dogs had been set upon the birds in previous incidents.

A number of people at the scene had said a firework was put into bread and given to the swan and subsequently exploded, she said. “The memorial park should be a gentle peaceful place but unfortunately that is not the case.’’

She said members of the public at the scene were too fearful to disclose who was responsible for the attack but local youths were suspected. Anyone with information about the incident can contact the DSPCA or Coolock Garda station.