MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – A swan was shot in a Murrells Inlet neighborhood, sparking outrage on social media.
Kimberly Cerimele, executive director of the Carolina Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, says she went to the Woodland Plantation neighborhood in July to remove four baby swans.
“Someone in the neighborhood didn’t like that they were walking on their yard,” Cerimele explained. “They had pooped next to their pool, and it kind of sparked a whole issue and some drama in the neighborhood.”
She asked to take the adults, a male and female, but was told no. In part, because the community owns the swans.
“This situation is kind of tough for me, because I had the babies in my care and they (the parent swans) were mourning. I received phone calls every day saying the parents were out there mourning. they didn’t understand why their babies were being taken away.”
The situation took a turn for the worse yesterday when Cerimele got a message telling her the female, the mother swan, had been killed. Now, Cerimele says she is unsure where to go from here, as the male swan is still in the neighborhood.
“When I showed up last night, they said I could not take the male swan and that they were going to have an emergency HOA meeting to decide what was going to happen,” she said. “They had his wings pinioned, which means they had a bone taken out, which means, he is permanently un-flighted. So he will forever be there unless they let us remove him.”
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources tell News13, Mute Swans are not federally protected because they are considered a domestic animal, not a wild animal. “They are not native to the U.S. so any animal that is not native to the US is not federally protected,” Cerimele explained. “They are considered a nuisance species.”
The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources are aware of this incident, Cerimele. She said people on social media have made comments about planning to go to the lake at night to steal the swan. But, she wants to emphasize that would be trespassing and it’s important to let the authorities handle the investigation.