He Took Care of Swans for a Living. Then One Turned

Wife of Anthony Hensley, who drowned during 2012 swan attack, is suing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2017 9:00 AM CST
Woman Sues After Swan Attack Led to Husband's Death
In this photo taken April 16, 2012, a female swan nests as a male swan patrols the area on the pond of a condominium complex in Des Plaines, Ill., where Anthony Hensley died.   (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Bob Chwedyk)

It was his job to take care of the swans, and it was a swan that ended up ending his life. Now the wife of a Des Plaines, Ill., man who died in 2012 after a swan attack in a condo complex's retention pond is suing the companies that own and operate the complex, the Chicago Tribune reports. In her complaint, Amy Hensley says the property management companies, as well as the condo and homeowners associations at the Bay Colony complex, were negligent in keeping the swans on the premises. Geese are fearful of swans, so swans or swan decoys are sometimes brought in to keep the goose population in check. But swans can act aggressively while trying to protect their young, and it was a swan's unchecked aggressiveness, Hensley says, that led to the death of her husband, Anthony Hensley.

The 37-year-old dad of two worked for Knox Swan and Dog, a local company that rents out swans as a goose control remedy, and he was often seen at Bay Colony taking care of the hired-out birds, typically in his kayak and with his dog. But on the day in question in April 2012, a nesting swan attacked Hensley's kayak and tipped him out of it. The bird continued to go after Hensley, who Fox News says was wearing heavy clothes and boots. He tried to make it to land but ended up drowning. His death was ruled accidental, but his wife's complaint notes the defendants in her suit "should have known the swans are strongly territorial with a dangerous propensity to attack." The suit adds he didn't do anything to agitate the swan before it attacked. Hensley's wife is asking for at least $50,000 in damages. (An Indianapolis man got ticketed for trying to protect his young son from a goose.)

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