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Dog walkers branded 'damn fools' as Labrador and swan embroiled in 'ferocious' fight when cob fights back to protect young

Wales Online logo Wales Online 10/05/2021 Sophie Norris & Ross Lawson

Two dog walkers were branded 'damn fools' after shocking images showed their labrador retriever chase nesting swans into a lake - only to become embroiled in a 'ferocious' fight when the territorial male fought back.

Shocking images show an off-lead dog battling an adult cob in the water near Tadpole Garden Village, in Swindon, Wiltshire, visibly snapping at the bird's outstretched wings with open jaws.

Amateur photographer Shohini Dutta claims the dog had raced into the water towards some cygnets she was taking pictures of on Thursday morning.

The 40-year-old claims the cob 'swooped over it like an eagle' and shots show the giant swan rising up out of the water to loom over the mutt in a bid to protect its young.

The dog's owners reportedly merely looked on 'stunned and flabbergasted' as the violent encounter unfolded, and Shohini claims 'tragedy' was only narrowly averted for both creatures.

After a rough back and forth of both animals snapping at each other, the final photo in the sequence shows the swan chasing off the dog as it swims frantically away.

Now mum-of-two Shohini is sharing the images as a 'lesson' to other dog owners, warning them to keep their pets under control or face potentially devastating consequences.

Shohini, from Swindon, said: "To be honest, I've never seen anything like this before. It was a first time for me. My heart was in my mouth. It was so quick.

"The dog was taken aback because the swan was like an eagle, swooping over him and trying to chase him out. This is breeding season and the swans can turn really ferocious during nesting times.

"The swan then went back to his nest to check on his partner and the eggs. The female was on the nest guarding the eggs.

"The owners looked stunned and flabbergasted. They didn't know what was going. All morning I was thinking that tragedy was averted."

a swan swimming in a body of water: The cob leapt out of the water to loom over the dog in a bid to protect its young © Shohini Dutta The cob leapt out of the water to loom over the dog in a bid to protect its young

Homemaker Shohini had been photographing some chicks on Thursday morning when she suddenly spotted a male swan behaving erratically.

As she looked closer, she discovered the sand-coloured dog paddling around the huge bird, as the bird towered over it in a threatening manner.

Shohini said: "I'm always out and about with my camera after I've dropped my kids off at school.

"I was trying to photograph the chicks then I suddenly saw the swan swooping into the water trying to chase something off.

"I took a closer look and saw it was a dog. They were both in danger. At the end of the day, it's a lesson learnt to dog owners to have them under control.

"I think the poor owners were far behind and by the time they came and frantically started calling his name out, he was already in the midst of this fight.

"Thankfully they both came off unharmed. It was quite an ordeal. Thank goodness both are safe.

"Dog owners should really keep their dogs on the lead at all times, especially when near to wildlife or lakes.

"It's all animal behaviour - you can never predict what will happen.

"I love photographing birds and wildlife around the thriving community. It's the perfect blend of rural and urban life."

a person holding a kite while standing in the grass: Amateur photographer Shohini Dutta had been photographing some chicks on Thursday morning when she suddenly spotted a male swan behaving erratically © Shohini Dutta Amateur photographer Shohini Dutta had been photographing some chicks on Thursday morning when she suddenly spotted a male swan behaving erratically

Furious social media users commented on the irresponsibility of the dog's owners, who Shohini claims had allowed it to run ahead off-lead.

One Facebook user said: "This angers me so much, why would any responsible dog owner allow this?"

Another commenter said: "Absolutely disgusting."

A further nature lover said: "Surely no responsible dog owner would allow a dog to have a swim in a lake where there were swans, especially at nesting times."

While one concerned viewer called the owners 'damn fools', another shared her own cautionary tale.

A dog owner said: "I made the mistake of letting my lad go for a swim in a pond. Swans were on land way over the pond and one came over and almost drowned him. Will never risk it where I can see swans anywhere in the area now."

Another group member shared their experience of staying with an injured swan.

They said: "Hate to see this. Spent nine hours once watching over a swan badly injured by a dog, until its rescue. Sadly, it had to be put asleep. Don't think I'll ever forget it."

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