Before we get into the meat of the story, a little background on “mute swans.”
In 2013, The New York State Bureau of Wildlife issued Draft Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State, 2013 . The report says that
Mute swans can cause a variety of problems, including aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality, and potential hazards to aviation. This plan supports actions by DEC to eliminate free-ranging mute swans from New York by 2025, while allowing responsible ownership of these birds in captivity. DEC recently proposed listing mute swan as a “prohibited species” under new Invasive Species regulations, which would prohibit sale, importation, transport, or introduction of this species in New York.
Mute swans are the largest birds in New York, with an average adult weight of 20-25 pounds and a wing span of nearly 7 feet.
Now on to our story…
The widow of a Villa Park, Illinois man has filed a wrongful death suit in the death of her husband who drowned after being attacked by a mute swan at a condo complex near Des Plaines .
For 10 years Anthony Hensley, 37 and a father of two children would regularly show up at the Colony Drive condo complex to tend to a pair of swans which the condo used to keep geese away.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune
On the morning of April 14, 2012, one of the swans attacked Hensley, causing his kayak to topple, according to witnesses at the time. The bird continued to lunge at him as he struggled to make it to shore before he disappeared under water, authorities said after the attack. He was pronounced dead at a hospital after dive crews scoured the 50-foot-deep pond to find him, authorities added.
Bird experts says that the use of swans to ward off unwanted geese is an effective practice but they are considered an invasive species and can wreak havoc with vegetation and other wildlife. They are also considered ill-tempered and nasty.
The lawsuit claims the Condo failed to warn her husband of the fact that the
“presence of the mute swans on the premises rendered it unreasonably dangerous” and the defendants “knew or should have known that mute swans are strongly territorial with a dangerous propensity to attack.”
They cited the llinois’ Animal Control Act, which says that the owner of an animal that attacks a person in may be held liable for damages.