Dog Mauls Swan, Causing Outrage: 'Next Time It May be a Child'

A swan was taken to a wildlife rescue center following an attack by a dog at a park near Glasgow, in Scotland, on Sunday.

The dog reportedly bit the swan at Mugdock Park—which is partially in the Stirling and East Dunbartonshire council areas of Scotland, and close to the town of Milngavie—on Valentine's Day. According to the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald, the dog managed to bite the swan's left eye and back. A volunteer named Kirsty Murdoch heard word of the attack, tracked down and caught the swan, and brought it to Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre, where it was treated.

The image of the swan shared by the Herald shows the bird at the rescue centre. It's seated on a towel, with nearby bowls that seem to hold food and water. The picture appears to capture the area where the dog bit the swan on its back, close to its left leg.

Hessilhead co-founder Andy Christie told the Herald that the swan's injuries were "quite painful but fortunately not life-threatening."

Christie warned the Herald that the dog that bit the swan may be a danger to others. The Herald said that he blamed careless pet owners, but it's unclear if the dog that attacked was someone's pet or a stray, and what, if any, actions the hypothetical owner may have taken to get the dog under control. "This was a dog that was out of control. The next time it may be a child," Christie said.

The Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre has been "car[ing] for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife" since 1986. Besides swans, the centre appears to treat seals and hedgehogs, as well as other birds. It also has a 24-hour emergency service available to offer help to wild animals in need. It's located in the small town of Beith, which is in the North Ayrshire council area of Scotland.

Newsweek reached out to the Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre for comment via email, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Following a 2019 attack in which a swan actually killed a dog in Dublin, the organization Birdwatch Ireland sought to notify the public that swans killing dogs is a very rare occurrence, according to The Irish Times. Birdwatch's Niall Hatch told The Times that swans would likely only attack if they're protecting their offspring. "[Swans] are fiercely protective parents and they see a dog as a predator," he said. "It's important that swans are given peace and quiet around the nesting season (which occurs during the summer months)."

A swan swims on a small unfrozen portion on otherwise ice-covered Engelbecken pond in the city center after a severe snow storm swept across Germany earlier this week on February 11, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty