Dog attacks on ducks in Holbeach park shock councillor

DUCKLING DEATHS: Reports of dogs killing ducklings in Carters Park, Holbeach, have shocked parish councillor Paul Foyster.
DUCKLING DEATHS: Reports of dogs killing ducklings in Carters Park, Holbeach, have shocked parish councillor Paul Foyster.
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Holbeach Parish Council is in shock at reports of dog attacks on ducklings in a town park, leaving some with fatal injuries.

Two ducklings were killed by at least one dog, possibly a Labrador-type breed or West Highland Terrier, after it was let off its lead in Carter’s Park, Holbeach, on Wednesday, April 27.

The message I would like to get across is please take extra care when exercising dogs in public places, especially in the nesting seasona, as it is an offence to attack or disturb nesting wildfowl - wherever they are

Coun Paul Foyster, chairman of the parks and playing fields committee, Holbeach Parish Council

The fatal attack came two weeks after another duckling was killed by a dog that was off its lead in the park’s dog run area where an eye-witness saw it “running around with the duckling in its mouth”.

A dog owner who uses Carter’s Park and asked not to be named said: “At about 3pm on April 27, two dog owners went in the enclosure with a black Labrador- type dog and a Westie (West Highland Terrier).

“Both dogs stood looking at a mother duck and her two babies further down the dog run.

“The dog owners then let the dogs off their leads and they ran at the ducks.

“The mother duck flew off and the two babies were killed after they were attacked by the two dogs.

“This happened two weeks after a lady, who was in the run with her dogs on leads, saw another dog owner let their dog loose and it killed a baby duckling. “It was running around with the duckling in its mouth and the lady saw it herself.”

Ducks and their young are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, as well as take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.

Anyone who does so could be fined up to £5,000 and/or jailed for up to six months.

The killings were brought up at a parish council meeting on Monday by parks and playing fields committee chairman Coun Paul Foyster who said: “One of the incidents was in the open area of the park and the other was inside the enclosed dog run area.

“Members of the public who let their dogs off the lead in the dog run are fine, as a rule, unless there is a female duck and her brood at one end of the run.

“But in the second case, a dog killed the entire brood as the mother flew off and escaped, with a witness claiming that the ducks were clearly visible and the dog was released deliberately to chase them.

“People should take extra care when exercising dogs in public places, especially in the nesting season, as it is an offence to attack or disturb wildfowl wherever they are.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We do not seem to have been contacted about these incidents but we always urge people to keep their dogs on leads, no matter how predictable they may feel they are, around wildlife to prevent any incidents or terrible accidents like this from happening.”

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