The RSPCA is urging dog-walkers to keep their pets on a lead when around wildlife – after two swans were found dead in a Staffordshire park with injuries consistent with being attacked by an animal.

The two birds were discovered at the side of a lake in Chasewater Country Park, in Burntwood, on Wednesday 21 February, both with bite marks on their body and necks.

RSPCA inspector Laura Baker said: “The injuries were consistent with being attacked by another animal, and we cannot rule out that they were caused by a dog.

“Dogs are often seen off their leads in the area and we would therefore ask their owners to please keep their dog on a lead when they know they are near wildlife. Remember that a wild animal may be nearby, but  it may not be instantly obvious, so make sure you keep a watch out.

“Legally dog owners should have charge and control of their animals in a public place. We are asking dog owners to act responsibly to ensure sad incidents such as this are prevented.”

Swans, their nests and their eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

For further information about what to do if you find an injured wild animal, visit the RSPCA’s website.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.