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Wrongful death lawsuit filed after fatal swan attack

Swans are beautiful, graceful creatures. We come across them every now and then, gliding effortlessly across shimmering water, and they seem so peaceful and serene. But looks can be very deceiving. Swans can be incredibly dangerous because they are naturally territorial and aggressive animals. A recent wrongful death lawsuit filed by an Illinois woman seems to be an important reminder of this.

The widow has filed the lawsuit against her deceased husband’s employer, a company that places swans in bodies of water at condominiums and other developments as a deterrent to keep geese away. Two years ago, the victim, who was the swan caretaker for the company, was attacked by a pair of swans, causing him to fall out of his kayak and drown in a 50-foot deep pond. 

Witnesses said that after the birds toppled the kayak, they continued to attack the man as he attempted to get to shore, until he finally drowned. The man was a 37-year-old father of two young girls.

Using swans to control geese is effective because swans are naturally territorial animals that will chase geese away. The lawsuit alleges that the company knew or should have known that the geese had “a dangerous propensity to attack,” and cites the Illinois Animal Control Act, which states that owners of attacking animals can be held liable in certain circumstances. The lawsuit also names the owners of the condominium development where the attack occurred.

When injury or death is caused by an animal attack, compensation may be available from the animal owners. Victims should seek the advice of a competent and experienced personal injury attorney to fully understand their rights.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Wife of Villa Park man who died after swan attack files suit," Meredith Rodriguez, April 16, 2014

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