Swan beaten to death
By JOHN KASTNER, QMI Agency
STATFORD, Ont. – The town of Stratford, Ont., is reeling after vandals beat and killed a local swan.
Quin Mallot, the city's manager of forestry and parks, said swans often fall victim raccoons, dogs, mink, birds of prey, snapping turtles or even other swans. But in his 10 years on the job, he's never seen anything like his.
The adult female swan named Angela was found floating in the city's Avon River this morning.
"It was an act of vandalism," said Mallot. "If it's an animal there are feathers and remnants of eggs and things like that. Animals just aren't that tidy."
The swan's eggs were also missing.
"We're sure it was humans," he added. "There were some beer bottles by the nest and there were some mailboxes tipped over further up the street. Plus, some people on William Street reported hearing a commotion around where the nest is sometime after the bars closed."
Angela and her mate, Nick, have a nest at the southeast corner of the local William Hutt Bridge.
Swans are social animals, said Mallot. He said Angela and Nick had taken to stopping young swans from going past the William Hutt Bridge and going over the nearby dam.
Sunday, Nick could be seen rummaging through the nest, presumably grieving for his mate and looking for the eggs.
"Angela would have been defenceless because she wouldn't leave the eggs. She would be defending the nest and would refuse to move and literally would be a sitting duck. I don't know if they kicked her to death or stomped on her, but she would have been defenceless.
"I can accept it if it is another animal. That's life and that's nature. But the mentality of the people who did this is really unsettling. Drunk or not, it's scary to think there are people in this community that could kill a defenceless animal for no reason."
Word travelled fast Sunday. Locals went to the bridge and paid their respects by leaving behind flowers.
Mallot said protecting swans is difficult.
"You can try and fence them in, but they move around. They are wild animals."
Police have been notified.