An animal sanctuary has hit out after yobs were spotted throwing rocks at a nesting swan in a north-east town.
Keith Marley, who runs the New Arc animal charity in Ellon, said he was “sickened” by the attack yesterday evening.
New Arc was called to help the swan, which appears to have been uninjured following the incident. However, the charity was unable to establish whether the bird’s eggs had been damaged.
Keith said three youths were seen at Ythan Bridge on South Road in Ellon throwing the stones.
The incident was reported to police who have urged anyone with information to come forward.
PC Doug Darling, wildlife crime officer, said it was “unacceptable” for anyone to cause “unnecessary suffering” to animals.
Of the incident, Keith said: “An attack like this sickens me to my stomach.
“I just don’t get the motivation behind it and can’t understand why someone would do it.
“What I don’t know at this stage is whether the young adults kept throwing rocks at the swan when it left its nest. Whether the eggs in there are still valid, I just don’t know.”
Keith has urged anyone who may have seen the attack to get in contact with the police.
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He added: “I got a phone call from a member of the public who witnessed the attacks and I was able to get to the area in around 10 minutes.
“Fortunately there was no sign of injury but the swan was off her nest and was very agitated.
“I was given a description of the youths and I did drive about to see if I was able to spot them.
“It is such a shame that this sort of incident still happens.
“I can’t comprehend why someone would do this.” PC Darling said: “A complaint was received and officers attended. However, no injured swans were found nor any youths in the area.
“In saying this, I would urge anyone who saw anything to contact police if they have additional information.”
He added: “It goes without saying that any animal cruelty is completely unacceptable and that causing unnecessary suffering is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Any attack or antisocial behaviour involving an animal is not funny nor clever and offenders will be robustly dealt with.”