Appeals for dogs to be kept on leads after cygnet is attacked

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE Friends of Tymon Park group are appealing to dog owners to keep their dogs on leads while they’re near ducks and swans, as a cygnet was attacked by an off-lead dog in the park on Friday evening.

Local woman Grace Kelly was in the park on Friday evening when she saw a dog attacking a swan – which managed to escape without injury – and a cygnet, that was on its own in the Tymon North end of the park, was also attacked by the dog and injured.

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Brian MacCormaic of Cairde Pháirc Thigh Motháin - Friends of Tymon Park, pictured with Lisa McAuley of Kildare Animal Foundation, Wildlife Unit, and of course the feisty GRACE

Ms Kelly contacted Brian MacCormaic, the coordinator of the Friends of Tymon Park, and he spent two hours trying to coax the cygnet out of the pond that evening, without success.

Mr MacCormaic then returned to the park at 6.30am the following morning and successfully retrieved the cygnet with the help of Lisa McAuley from the Kildare Animal Foundation Wildlife Unit.

Mr MacCormaic told The Echo: “There were a lot of feathers with blood at the side of the pond.

“The cygnet had serious wounds – they were right through the cygnet’s flesh, under the wing.”

The cygnet was brought to Ms McAuley’s home nearby, where she used her training to clean the injured animal’s wounds, and it was then brought to Palmerstown Vet Hospital for treatment, where it received stitches and was prescribed a week-long course of antibiotics and painkillers.

The cygnet is now recuperating in Ms McAuley’s Old Bawn home.

Mr MacCormaic added: “Lisa has a special place where she keeps the cygnet and feeds it, and looks after it.

“It’s seems to be doing much better now, and isn’t in as much pain. It’s being cared for and it seems to be coming along well.”

The gender of the cygnet is still a mystery to its rescuers, but seeing how well the cygnet is doing after its ordeal, and in recognition of the woman who alerted Mr MacCormaic to the incident, the cygnet was named Grace.

Prior to the incident with the dog, the cygnet already had a tough few weeks, as its family was moved from the Limkelin end of Tymon Park to Ballycragh Park, after a family of swans and cygnets from Ballycragh Park set up home in Tymon Park and were territorial, so the original family was moved.

However, the original family of swans and cygnets went back to the Limekiln end of the park and rejected Grace, so she stayed in a pond on her own at the Tymon North end of the park, near to but at a safe distance from an unrelated family of swans in that area of the park.

Following the incident with the dog attack, Grace will not return to Tymon Park, and will instead go to the Bray Swan Sanctuary after recovering.

When asked about what message he wanted to give to dog owners following this incident, Mr MacCormaic, who also walks his dog in Tymon Park, said: “I just want dog owners to keep their dogs on leads in areas where there are swans or ducks around.

“Keep the dogs well controlled, and away from the other animals in the park.”

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