Owners urged to keep dogs on leads after 'two swans are killed' at South Tyneside beauty spot

Dog owners have been urged to keep their pets on leads at a beauty spot after a swan and cygnet were reportedly killed at the wildlife haven.

A male swan and his cygnet were reportedly killed by dogs at Monkton Marsh.
A male swan and his cygnet were reportedly killed by dogs at Monkton Marsh.

The Maples Nature Reserve, also known as Monkton Marsh, is just off Luke’s Lane in Hebburn, and is something of a hidden gem.

The marsh is home to swans and other wildlife.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But a reported incident involving people walking a group of dogs earlier this summer allegedly saw two dogs off their leads attack a swan and two cygnets.

The adult male swan and one cygnet are said to have died from their injuries. The other cygnet is said to have happily recovered at a sanctuary.

People living nearby say visitors from outside the area are unaware of the wildlife there and therefore don’t always have their dogs on leads.

The dog owners have not been traced and there is no proof of the alleged incident to present to the RSPCA.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Gazette understands that there is no specific rule regarding keeping dogs on leads at Monkton Marsh, but South Tyneside Council and the RSPCA have both issued advice after we contacted them about the alleged incident.

The RSPCA say that regardless of local rules on keeping dogs on leads, owners still have a legal duty to keep their pets under control.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “We would always advise owners to take extra care with their dogs in public places and country parks where there is wildlife.

Dog owners have a legal responsibility under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to keep their dogs under control in a public place, while swans, their nests and their eggs are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“For more information about responsible dog walking in the countryside, please visit the RSPCA’s website: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/walking.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Our parks and open spaces are well used by residents and visitors and we want them to remain safe and enjoyable for everyone.

“While we appreciate that the vast majority of dog owners do act responsibly, some do not, which is why we have Public Space Protection Orders covering dog control, including restrictions for when dogs need to be on a lead.

“Most of our parks and open spaces are free from restrictions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“However, dog owners are always required to ensure their dogs are under control, have no more than four dogs under their responsibility at any one time and must place them on a lead when asked by an authorised officer.

“Dogs must be kept on leads in South Marine Park and all borough cemeteries at all times.

Read More
Bats still holding up demolition of ‘eyesore’ Jarrow building after six years

Signs are also displayed in areas where restrictions are in place. We would also appeal for owners to keep their pets under control near wildlife in particular.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We regularly review our dog control Public Spaces Protection Orders, which were renewed in 2020 following a public consultation. They are next due for renewal next year when we will be engaging with the public as part of the formal process.”