Suffolk marine officers are swan's savior

Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers rescue an Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers rescue an injured swan in Santapogue Creek in West Babylon. (Sept. 18, 2013) Photo Credit: SCPD

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It could have been a swan song for a swan with a fishing line encircling its neck and a hook caught in its bill Wednesday morning, if not for an assist from Suffolk County marine bureau officers.

Responding to a call reporting the struggling swan, Officers Pete Conte and Rob Jenkins arrived on scene at 8:40 a.m. at Santapogue Creek, Montauk Highway and Oak Avenue, West Babylon, police said.

He and his partner went off in search of the swan, Conte said, and, after they realized the water was too shallow for their boat, they enlisted the aid of an off-duty NYPD officer and his 14-foot Carolina Skiff.

When the swan was spotted "and cornered up against a bulkhead where boats were docked," Conte said, his partner went ashore and used a pole to push the creature toward its rescuers.

Though there was some significant hissing at first, Conte said, the swan calmed right down as he removed the hook and line. Even holding it by the neck and having his finger in its mouth, the swan "never bit me once," he said.

With the impediments removed and a check over by Conte complete, the swan delivered a final hiss, flew up over the water and settled back down on the creek, he said.

The real hero, Conte said, is Freddie Bayer, 45, who works for a goose control company. Bayer said he was in the neighborhood Tuesday morning working for a client, spotted the swan and called a number of rescue organizations, to no avail.

Although he didn't want to bother police with such an issue, he said he called them reluctantly on Wednesday morning, and "those guys got the job done."

When Bayer saw the swan had been released, he said, "I was exhilarated."

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