Residents on Oneida Lake upset after wildlife officials euthanize mute swans

Mute swans are seen on Oneida Lake (Photo Provided by Rachel Helen)

A community near Oneida Lake is outraged after a family of wild mute swans was euthanized earlier this week by wildlife services.

Residents in the town of Cicero said the swans have been a part of their community for more than 20 years.

"I'm just upset and disturbed," said Rachel Umbenhouer. "I feel that it could have been handled better. We've been discussing it the past few days and we've been getting more information and it just seems like killing all of them was not the best move."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said when possible, it takes animals to a different location before they humanely euthanize them. But because the swans were able to fly, catching them was just not possible.

The agency said two adult swans and four cygnets on the lake were euthanized after a woman was attacked by one of the adult swans while she was in a kayak. They won't disclose what method was used to kill the swans.

Residents considered the male swan something of a "family pet," and although they understand the need to protect the public from random animal attacks, the killing of the swans is troubling to them.

"Really broken-hearted but what we understand happened is they came in a boat and they shot the male and female in the water and witnesses on Beach Road that saw it happen say that they held the babies under water with a fishing net and drowned them," said Peggy Przybycien.

After residents questioned why the USDA did it right on the lake, the department said it would have been more stressful for the birds to take them some place out to do it.

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