Walk ruined by horrific dog attack on swan

COMMENT: Guildhall Walk has improved, but it’s still far from perfect

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My family and I often try to get out for a long dog walk at the weekend.

Last weekend there was some actual sunshine, and so we dashed out before it could retreat behind a big cloud again.

I won’t disclose the location of where we went, but if you happened to be there too, then you’ll probably recognise it from the incident that I am about to describe.

My family and I wandered around, almost dazed by spring sunshine.

We stopped at the ice-cream van and the kids had their first vanilla cones of 2015.

We marvelled at the unexpected warmth of the day and pottered along the shoreline.

Our little dog, Dolly, was having a splendid time, and so were other families, all out for the late afternoon tranquility. Until, that is, a man’s voice could be heard shouting from across the bay.

The location of our walk has a causeway that appears only when the tide is out and on the opposite side of the bay we could see a dog running through the pools and puddles that the sea had left behind.

A man was calling the dog, and I pointed it out to India.

I soon wished I hadn’t, as it became apparent that our Sunday afternoon potter was about to turn into a Sunday afternoon swan-slaughter.

The dog, I am unsure of the breed, leaped into the air and snatched a swan from mid-escape flight. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and once the dog had brought it down, it continued to maul and attack the swan. It was, in short, horrific.

Amelie commenced weeping immediately, and people lined up around the bay, in horror but also amazement, because the owners of the dog continued to shout for it, but did not go after it!

It took a good four minutes for a man from the dog’s family to try to retrieve it.

By this time, some people were shouting abuse at the family in question, suggesting that the gentleman did not wish to splash across the puddles due to the cream nature of his trousers.

You could understand the upset and frustration – but then, I didn’t see them going in after it either, so where do you draw the line of hypocrisy? If we hadn’t had the girls with us then I’m not sure I could have stood by and just watched.

A local woman rescued the swan eventually and called the RSPCA, but I don’t know what happened to it after that.

If anybody reading this does, then I’d be interested to hear.

Verity Lush is a 36-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.

She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.
Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog