Police in the UK are investigating a recent caught-on-camera incident in which a woman apparently kicks a pair of swans in a canal before a man is shoved into the water.
The incident unfolded Friday at the Limehouse Basin in east London, according to local media.
Video shows a group peering at the two swans in the water before a woman dips her leg down and appears to kick the birds.
According to the clip, a man confronts the woman over the alleged act before a band of men toss him into the water.
Witnesses say the woman was actually trying to help – not hurt – the swans as they claim that the birds were engaged in a “murderous” fight and the woman was attempting to break it up, the UK’s Sun reported.
“I watched the entire episode and the swans were not mating, they were fighting to the death,” one witness told the Daily Mail.
“They had been sparring for some time before crowds gathered and had sparred several times in previous days without a fight actually breaking out. The girl was trying to separate the swans to avoid one of them being killed,” the witness said.
Another witness told the news outlet, “One swan was very definitely attacking the other. He [presumably] was biting the other’s neck and attempting to submerge its head.”
“This went on for an extended period of time, with onlookers attempting to break them up by making noise and after some time, throwing things. There was quite a sizable crowd on the bridge,” the onlooker said.
“Obviously this is irrelevant to the pushing into the water of the man who intervened. But the people involved were not just baiting the swans — it was an attempt to break up an attack,” said the witness.
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The Metropolitan Police said they are investigating the incident.
“Awful viewing. Animal cruelty is an indicator of many other vile behaviors and a tendency towards other forms of violence,” Police Superintendent Andy Cox said, according to local media,
“The assault [and] anti-social behavior needs our action. Help us by letting us know who these offenders are.”