BIRD lovers in Leamington are mourning the loss of a swan they believe was mistakenly put down.
The swan, christened Bob by locals, had been a resident of the town’s Victoria Park for some 12 years. He lived contentedly with his partner and was something of a local celebrity, due to his friendly nature.
But events took an unfortunate turn for well-loved Bob when he became injured – ultimately leading to him being euthanised.
Bird enthusiast Emma Horneycroft told the Observer she and two other members of the public came to Bob’s aid recently after noticing he had an injured leg.
Emma, who regularly rescues birds voluntarily, said Bob had become injured by his tag. It had slipped down and become stuck over his heel joint.
She explained that she removed the tag herself and took the swan to her vet who administered antibiotics and cleaned up the wound.
Her vet advised her to send Bob back to the water with his mate as he needed to build muscle back up in the joint, which he had been unable to move for some time.
Emma then heard that a member of the public had reported a poorly looking and ‘over-friendly’ swan to the RSPCA.
She called the organisation to see what they had done with him.
The RSPCA told Emma he had been picked up and taken to a local vet where they put him down on the basis he was lame.
Emma continued: “The RSPCA’s actions were wrong, If they had looked properly, he had a wound which was healing. They took his friendliness for not acting as a swan should – aggressive – and decided there was something wrong.
“He was just very friendly. He had spent his whole life in Victoria Park with people around him feeding him. They have made a mistake putting him down.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Our rescuer found the swan to be very lame and unable to walk or stand for more than a few steps before falling back down. After consulting with a vet team, the difficult decision was taken that emergency euthanasia was the kindest option to prevent this swan from suffering further.
“We understand how upsetting this is for the local community who loved and cherished the swan and we really would like to thank them for all the care they have shown towards this swan and other wildlife in the area.”