'Territorial' beaver attack in Devon 'without warning'

European Beaver Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Local residents reported the beavers had 'spread out' in the Otterton area

A beaver has attacked a dog in Devon, prompting a warning for pet owners.

The attack happened by some salmon pools at Otterton, Devon.

One local resident said the beavers had become "territorial" in the area, and struck the dog "without warning".

The Devon Wildlife Trust's Stephen Hussey said he was aware of the incident, adding that there were warning signs in place urging people to "keep dogs on leads".

He added: "This time of year the beavers have kits [a beaver's young] and they are very small and vulnerable."

More on the beaver attack and other stories across Devon and Cornwall

A message posted on the Otterton Community Watch group on social media said the beaver had "a proper go" at the owner's dog, adding: "A small breed could have been killed."

Image caption The attack happened on the River Otter which runs from Somerset, through East Devon to the English Channel

Beavers were re-introduced in the area by Devon Wildlife Trust, which said it was part of the first licensed beaver re-introduction and monitoring project in England.

A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council said: "Every year we provide advice to dog owners regarding the need to keep their dogs under close control whilst around livestock and out and about in the countryside.

"East Devon is very lucky to have a wild beaver population establishing and these animals clearly need to be protected from attack by dogs, as much as the dogs need to be protected from the beavers.

"We would recommend that members of the public going quietly to watch the beavers do not take their dogs with them to the areas in which they are most active, particularly at this time of the year."

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