Council takes action to prevent more dog attacks on swans

Action is being taken by Fylde Council in a bid to help save swans after a recent spate of attacks on the birds by dogs.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 3:45 pm

New signage has been installed at four major Fylde recreation areas – Ashton Gardens and the Promenade in St Annes, Fairhaven Lake and Lowther Gardens in Lytham – urging dog walkers to keep their pets on lead in areas featuring protected wildlife species.

Meanwhile, a special meeting of the council’s operational management committee is to be held next week to discuss a review already under way of the current legal protection in place in those areas and a proposal to hold a public consultation ahead of potential changes to the Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) currently in operation.

The moves are in direct response to several recent incidents involving dogs and swans, which have included one of the birds being killed at St Annes Promenade and another badly injured in Ashton Gardens.

Coun Roger Small at one of the new signs in Ashton Gardens, St Annes with resident Alison Allen, who recently found and reported an injured swan

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Along with the three parks specified, the new request for dogs to be kept on leads in areas with protected wildlife applies along the whole on St Annes Promenade as well as the Promenade Gardens.

Since the attacks, in addition to the standard enforcement process, officers from the Fylde Environmental Enforcement Team have been patrolling the areas where reports have been made, to offer advice and reassurance to the public.

Coun Roger Small, chairman of the Fylde’s operational management committee, said: “In Fylde, we are lucky enough to be home to a diverse wildlife population as well as lots of fantastic outdoor areas where we can enjoy sharing the natural habitats of these animals with our own much-loved companions.

“Unfortunately, several recent incidents have been reported to the Council by the public and local wildlife charities.

“It is clear we all have a responsibility to protect these areas as well as each other, which is why the new signage and upcoming review of the protected areas is a really important step to ensuring our shared spaces are safe, prosperous, and enjoyable for all.”

Next week’s special meeting will consider making changes that would mean dogs would legally have to be kept on a lead at all times in Ashton Gardens, Lowther Gardens, Fairhaven Lake, Promenade Gardens and the parts of the Promenade where that is not already the case.

The current PSPOs for the enforcement of dog control under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 include the requirement that anyone in charge of a dog in those areas must put their dog on a lead when requested by an authorised officer. The same applies to parts of the Promenade and the Promenade Gardens during the off-season.

The recent death of a swan followed an incident on Sunday, August 1, in which the bird was reportedly viciously attacked by a dog that, according to witnesses, ‘ran off with it in its mouth’ from St Annes boating lake next to YMCA St Annes Pool and Gym on Sunday, August 1.

The swan died at a St Annes veterinary surgery the following day.

Meanwhile, another swan is said to be on the road to recovery after being badly injured in another incident thought to have involved a dog in Ashton Gardens.

Coun Small added: “I’m sure it’s a sad coincidence that these incidents have happened so close together but they caused a lot of distress among the public and it is important we look into the matter.”

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