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Protection of swans from attack by dangerous/uncontrolled dogs?

Ellie Morgan made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Dear Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,

What protection in law do swans have from being attacked by uncontrolled/dangerous dogs?

Yours faithfully,

Swan Rescue South Wales

Helpline, Defra (CCU), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dear Ms Morgan

Thank you for your email of 17 March about swans.

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981,
which implements the EU Wild Birds Directive in Great Britain. Under
Section 1 of the 1981 Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure
or take any wild bird. Whooper and Bewick swans are listed on Schedule 1
of the 1981 Act so are further protected from intentional or reckless
disturbance while they are building a nest or are in, on or near a nest
containing eggs or young.

With regard to dogs attacking swans, or the wilful failure of a dog owner
to prevent their dog from attacking a swan, a court does have the power,
under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, to impose a muzzling order on a dog of
any type which it judges actually or potentially dangerous. In addition,
the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 makes it a criminal offence to allow an
unmuzzled ferocious dog to be off a lead in a street, park or open space.
It is also an offence to allow any dog to attack or menace any person or
animal. The Animals Act 1971 provides that the keeper of an animal is
liable for any damage it causes if it is found that the keeper knew it was
likely to cause such damage or injury if unrestrained. Under the Dogs Act
1871, any person may make a complaint to a magistrates court that a dog is
dangerous or report the matter to the police. The 1871 Act allows
magistrates to order the destruction of dangerous dogs or impose
alternative controls on them.

If you suspect an offence is being committed, you should report the matter
to the police. If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action you
should call 999. Otherwise you are advised to report the matter to your
local police control room and ask that the matter is referred to the force
wildlife crime officer. The police control room should provide you with an
incident reference number.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Woodhouse
Defra – Customer Contact Unit

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform the
sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked for
known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no responsibility
once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

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