Category Archives: swans

Bainsford, Falkirk: Gary McDonald

#TheList Gary McDonald, born c. 1990, of 64 Mungalhead Road, Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 7JG – attacked a nesting swan in a public park

Gary McDonald from Bainsford attacked a swan in a public park
Gary McDonald

Gary McDonald pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

The court heard that on May 6, 2018, McDonald entered Crownest Park in Stenhousemuir and approached a group of teenagers saying, “Watch this, I’m going to snap the swan’s neck”. He also asked the group to film him.

Members of the group shouted at him to leave the swan alone as he approached the nest site and took out their phones to film his actions.

McDonald climbed down the verge on the east side of the pond, known as the Lido”, and sat next to the nest.

The swan became alarmed and stood up, stretching out its wings and neck in warning.

McDonald then grabbed the bird by the neck and held it for several seconds before it escaped by entering the pond.

The witnesses uploaded their footage to social media and a witness appeal by Police Scotland resulted in McDonald being identified.

This was the second year that the swan had nested at the side of the Lido.

Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a callous act against a nesting swan.

“Wild birds are protected under our wildlife laws and those who choose to commit acts of violence against them can expect to be held to account.”

Sentencing: three-year community payback order with supervision and conduct requirements.

Falkirk Herald

Fordingbridge, Hampshire: William Sheen

#TheList William Gregory Michael Sheen, born c. 1997, of Queens Gardens, Fordingbridge SP6 1QP, but said to be living in Marryat Road, New Milton, Hampshire – fired a catapult at swans and their cygnets before ‘choking’ his dog when she wouldn’t chase the birds

William Sheen

Career criminal Sheen, who has previous convictions for violence and burglary, attempted to harm the swans and their cygnets in Riverside Park, Fordingbridge on dates between July 5 and 8 2017.

One witness spotted him trying to force his dog into the water to chase the birds. When the dog didn’t give chase, Sheen dragged her into the air by her lead.

One of Will Sheen's dogs. It's not known if this is the dog involved in this incident.
One of Will Sheen’s dogs. It’s not known if this is the dog involved in this incident.

The dog was in a “distressed state” and “making choking noises”.

Sheen, who is believed to be part of the travelling community, was found guilty of three charges of attempting to injure wild birds and one of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog following a trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in April 2018.

Mark Gammon of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Sheen was seen by members of the public to be firing a catapult at some swans and cygnets on the River Avon before attempting to encourage his dog to enter the water to chase them.

“When the dog wouldn’t give chase, Sheen pulled it up by its lead so that it was hanging in the air, with its back legs kicking the water below.

“The dog was in a distressed state and making choking noises.

“Later that month, Sheen was again seen firing a catapult at swans on the river, before deliberately setting a dog on one of the swans.

“The dog chased the swan in the river and as it approached, the swan flapped its wings defensively.

“Along with eye witness accounts, a photograph was presented to the court in evidence of the swan with its wings spread out with the dog in the water approaching it.

“These were appalling attacks that caused much distress to the animals involved and the members of the public who witnessed them.

“This case serves as a warning to others that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone caught carrying out offences of this nature will be robustly prosecuted and punished.”

Sentencing: 260 hours of unpaid work within a year. Disqualified from owning or controlling any dog for two years (expires July 2020). Both of his dogs taken away from him. Banned from visiting Riverside Park or the river for 12 months.

Bournemouth Echo