I want to break free! Hammersmith seal named after Queen singer Freddie Mercury is savaged by dog in terrifying riverside attack
- The seal has been entertaining crowds near Hammersmith Bridge, in west London, since he arrived last month
- Shocking pictures show the moment dog off its lead attacked the young pup leaving him with severe wounds
- Onlookers managed to rush over and release the dog’s jaw from the injured seal until emergency help arrived
A seal nicknamed Freddie Mercury who had taken up residence in the River Thames has been brutally savaged by a dog.
Freddie 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
Wounded: Freddie Mercury is recovering at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital where he was taken for treatment after the traumatic event on Sunday. He is expected to make a full recovery and be returned to the wild as soon as possible
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.’
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.’