The mutilated remains of a swan were found by horrified residents in Milford in what was thought to be a barbaric act of animal cruelty.
This harrowing image shows the savaged carcass of the protected bird which has puncture wounds across its body and was found at the end of a trail of feathers.
Nearby residents say they suspected an out of control dog had killed the creature at around 7.30am on Monday, June 25, in the Hopping Hill Meadows area, next to the River Derwent.
Neither the police nor Amber Valley Borough Council said they were investigating the attack.
One local who refused to be named for fear of reprisals from dog owners said: “We heard a commotion but by the time we got there the culprit had gone.The swan’s dead body was just lying there completely covered in blood and it was a horrible thing to see.
“Its injuries looked like they had been caused by a dog and one of my neighbours heard a dog. I just hope that a child isn’t next to be attacked by this animal.
“Dog owners are always letting their animals attack the ducks and swans around here. I saw one dog launch into around 15 ducks and swans while the owners stood there watching the destruction and doing nothing about it.”
A spokesman for the RSCPA urged people to get in touch if they had witnessed the brutal attack.
The charity is also calling for owners to keep their dogs on leads at all times if their pets have previously been prone to chasing other animals.
“The RSPCA was informed of a dead swan on the riverbank and an inspector did attend and removed the body,” the spokesman said.
“The cause of death could not be established and local residents said they were unsure as to the cause.
“However if anyone did witness the incident or has any information we would urge them to call the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
“We would also remind people to ensure that they keep their dogs on leads when walking by wildlife or farm animals, dog owners have a responsibility by law to keep their pets under control when in a public place.”
Police said they would not be investigating as the attack was not carried out by a human and a spokesman for the council, who own the meadows area of land, said they had no powers at their disposal to force owners to control their dogs.
* The Queen still owns all Britain’s unmarked mute swans in open water – but only exercises these ownership rights on some parts of the Thames and its tributaries.
As native wild birds, swans also enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence for a person to intentionally injure, take or kill a wild swan.
Anyone who harms one may be prosecuted for criminal damage and stealing a swan’s egg is also an offence and carrying the same maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine or six months in jail.