At least four swans have died after being mauled by dogs, prompting calls for owners to keep their pets under control.
At least four swans have died after being mauled by dogs, prompting calls for owners to keep their pets under control.

’Never trust your dog’: Swans mauled to death

AT LEAST four swans have died after being mauled by dogs in the Gold Coast and Tweed in recent days, prompting calls for owners to keep their pets under control.

Gold Coast councillor Daphne McDonald and Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast have reported attacks on the birds at various locations, including Pine Lake Elanora, Burleigh Heads and Tweed.

A caller from Banora Point, who asked not to be named, phoned the Bulletin and said the community was devastated by attacks on the protected and much-loved estuary birds.

In a social media post, Cr McDonald said Elanora was "so fortunate to have wildlife on our doorstep", but sadly a resident swan dubbed Hoover had been attacked.

"Sad to say Hoover was attacked by a dog, received significant injuries and couldn't be saved," she said.

"This incident has upset the local community so now is a timely reminder to dog owners that the area surrounding the lake is on lead and fines apply if off lead."

Male swan Hoover and his female mate were regular visitors to Pine Lake Elanora. Picture: Cr Daphne McDonald.
Male swan Hoover and his female mate were regular visitors to Pine Lake Elanora. Picture: Cr Daphne McDonald.

Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast's Rowley Goonan said last week that five swans had been attacked.

He urged dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash while near swans and other waterbirds.

"Three of those swans are dead and two are battling in Currumbin Wildlife Hospital," he said.

"These are very bad numbers."

Mr Rowley said two birds were attacked "just over the border" in the Tweed, while three more were caught at Burleigh Heads.

He said dogs should be kept on a leash "at all times when in the vicinity of waterbirds".

"Never trust your dog not to harm a bird, or any wildlife because they're programmed to hunt," he said.

"It's what they do, so don't take the risk."

The spate of attacks on swans is not an isolated occurrence on the Coast - the Bulletin has reported on various similar incidents over the years.

Gold Coast City Council can slap dog owners with fines of $133 for walking a dog in public without a leash, unless in a permitted off-leash exercise area.