A wildlife lover is calling on dog owners to be more responsible after four cygnets were killed in suspected dog attacks.
Megan McCafferty was left upset and frustrated when she discovered the birds were missing from their nest along the Oakham Canal near Ashwell.
Megan, 71, of Springfield Way, Oakham, had been feeding the birds ever since they hatched on Sunday, June 1 along with her friend Lesley Dutton.
The two adult swans had been looking after their six cygnets but when Megan returned on Tuesday, June 3 to check up on them, only two of the cygnets were left.
She called the RSPCA and following an inspection, Inspector Clint Davies said the cygnets may have been attacked and killed by dogs.
It has been ruled out that the birds swam upstream because they were so young.
Megan said: “People who walk their dogs down there must keep them on a lead and respect the wildlife.
“They are beautiful creatures and it’s very upsetting that this has happened.
“The swans were really stressed and you can tell they have been traumatised.”
This is not the first time cygnets have been killed along that stretch of the canal.
In July 2011, we reported how a cygnet died in a suspected dog attack.
In Bourne, a swan was savaged by a fox on The Wellhead in March.
The bird was the fifth to be killed by dogs or foxes there in recent years.
Bourne United Charities, which looks after the park, cancelled an order for black swans after residents signed a petition urging the charity not to bring more swans, as they did not want to see anymore birds killed by animals.
More than 40 people signed the petition.