Furious animal lovers have hit out at a dog owner after the dog brutally attacked a young seal leaving him with a dislocated flipper and nasty wounds.
Freddie Mercury got his name because he can please a crowd like the Queen frontman and has been entertaining riverside walkers near Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes, West London, since he arrived up stream on the river last month.
But distressing pictures appear to show the young pup being mauled by a brown cross-breed at around 12.45pm on Sunday.
Onlookers including a passing vet rushed over to release the dog’s clamped jaws and stayed with the injured seal until emergency services arrived.
Photographer Duncan Phillips, 55, who was shooting images of the seal when it was attacked on the slipway, told MyLondon: ‘It was quite a vicious attack. The dog just wouldn’t let go.
‘It wouldn’t let go despite repeated attempts by members of the public to separate the animals.’
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue sent medics to treat its severe wounds before taking it to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital (SEWH) in Tilbury by boat with help from the Port of London Authority and London Fire Brigade.
Freddie Mercury, a seal who has been living near Hammersmith Bridge, in west London, was left with severe injuries after a dog off its lead attacked the young pup who is named after the Queen frontman because of his ability to please a crowd
Witnesses described the attack as ‘savage’ and said the dog would not let go despite of repeated attempts by passers-by
Four onlookers, including a vet, repeatedly tried to pry the dog’s jaw off the young seal but it refused, leaving severe wounds
The onlookers who had stopped to help held the seal in place until the emergency services could get there. Young Freddie was left with severe wounds and had to be taken to South Essex Wildlife Hospital with the help of the London Fire Brigade
Freddie is recovering at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital where he was taken after the traumatic event on Sunday. Vets say he has a dislocated flipper and that they are liaising with vets across the country to determine the best treatment going forward
A charity spokesman said: ‘At around 12.45pm today, on Sunday 21st March, a young resident common seal, in the Hammersmith area of the River Thames, was attacked by a dog leaving it with severe wounds and needing urgent vet treatment.
‘The out of control dog was recalled by the owner who then left the scene, but thankfully a quick thinking passer who saw the attack was able to catch the seal and hold onto it so help could be found.
‘Our rescue hotline coordinator called out local Thames BDMLR medics and with the assistance of a local vet, we were able to source a cage and contain the seal safely.’
The vet who helped in the incident was reportedly bitten three times by the scared seal while trying to rescue him and a male cyclist who also stopped to help was ‘headbutted’ by the seal as they tried to hold him in place until he could get treatment.
The veterinary team move injured Freddie from the dog cage to a more suitable carrier before he is transported to hospital
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue sent medics before taking it to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Tilbury by boat
Freddie was carefully manoeuvred into a dog cage until help arrived and they could take him away in a more suitable carrier
Freddie, who was first rescued as a new-born in the Netherlands last year, was left with a nasty wound on his right flipper
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Freddie had originally been rescued as a new-born last year in the Netherlands but he was rescued again in France and now twice in the UK
Freddie Mercury is thankfully safe and alive at the hospital where he continues to receive treatment.
A warning piece of paper tied to a traffic cone at his favourite sunbathing hotspot reads: ‘Stop! My name is Freddie Mercury. I have been rescued multiple times but I would like to stay here.
‘I am healthy – but was almost attacked by a dog yesterday. It scared me. Please no dogs or people beyond top of ramp.’
Animal lovers who were appalled by the attack have taken to social media to criticise the dog’s owner.
One has said: ‘I hope this owner is dragged into court. Sick to death of seeing these horrendous attacks. Stop making excuses for these dogs and irresponsible owners. Thankful for those who helped.’
A wounded Freddie Mercury awaits treatment and transport to the veterinary hospital after being attacked by a dog
Another added: ‘It’s the fault of the dog owners that have no control over their animals. Unfortunately It’s in most dogs nature to give chase, as most think it’s a great game until gets out of hand.
‘Farmers have the right to shoot dogs worrying sheep or other livestock on their land.
‘I’ve seen so many dogs go after horses which is not only dangerous to horse and rider but dog could have it’s brains kicked out.
‘Again it’s irresponsible owners who either cant be bothered or too lazy to train their dogs.’
One man said: ‘The owner needs to be brought before the courts and fined. Then made to pay for Freddies veterinary bills and rehabilitation.’
Others suggested the owner should make a contribution to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital’s charity to help cover the cost of the treatment.
One said: ‘I hope Freddie makes a quick and full recovery. If you cant trust your dog or it has no recall keep it on a leash.
‘I really hope the owner makes a contribution towards Freddie’s treatment and keeps her dog firmly on its lead in future.’