Wildlife falls foul to cat and dog attacks

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service WRAS is appealing to cat and dog owners to be more careful with their pets after dealing with three badly injured casualties in less than 24 hours.

Yesterday (Monday 21st July 2009) WRAS was called to two bats which had been attacked by cats. The first was a Brown Long-eared Bat found at Framfield, which was luckily bruised with a few nasty cuts and rips to the wing membranes. The second was a Natterers Bat found at Westmeston was handed into Cliff Vets at Lewes. WRAS rescuer Trevor Weeks and Kathy Martyn attended and checked both bats over before delivering them to Jenny Clark at the Sussex Bat Hospital at Forest Row. Unfortunately the Natterers Bat had an badly injured leg and foot and had to be euthanised.

Today (Tuesday 21 July 2009) WRAS rescuer Tony Neads has responded to a call to a badly injured swan attacked by a dog at the end of Leeds Ave, Eastbourne. Tony rushed to Swan to Founder Trevor Weeks who was able to give emergency medication and treatment so that Tony could deliver the swan safely to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton where waiting specialist veterinary staff were on hand to deal with the swan's injuries.

"This has to be one of the nastiest wounds I've ever seen whilst I have been volunteering with WRAS" explained WRAS rescuer Tony Neads, " I had to be careful catching and carrying the swan to avoid causing any further damage."

"This is certainly one of the worst cases we have had in a long time and we understand from staff at the Swan Sanctuary that they may not be able to save the swan's wing." added Trevor Weeks founder of WRAS.

Last week WRAS also responded to a baby deer attacked and injured by a dog.

WRAS is urging dog owners to be careful in areas where there are swans as many are now going through a moult and some of them can't fly as a result. "Every year swans go through a moult which is why there are so many feathers on the ground. Some swans will loose all of their flight feathers and will not be able to fly as a result. This makes they very vulnerable to dogs, foxes and humans attacking them. Due to the position of the injuries we don't believe this is a fox but a dog attack" said Trevor.

WRAS is also urging cat owners to bring their cats in an hour before sunset so that bats can emerge undisturbed. The Bat Conservation Trust also advises cat owners that if their cat doesn't take kindly to this feed it or give it a treat to encourage it. For those who find it difficult keeping their cats in at night throughout the summer, the Bat Conservation Trust urges cat owners to try it at least from mid June till the end of August, as this is when bats are being reared.

If a cat has already caught a bat it is possible it has found a roost and may return to it night after night and it may continue to kill more and more bats each night. In these circumstances it is important to keep the cat in all night.

More information and advice is available on bats and swans on our advice section. Also at www.bats.org.uk.

WRAS is restricted on what it can attend at the moment due to a lack of funds but is trying to help as many people as it can afford to, these are mainly incidents which members of the public cannot be expected to handle themselves.

If you can help keep WRAS on the road please make a donation online or post a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958
Steve Knight, Swan Sanctuary, 07714 292744

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