[from Haringey council web site]
Irresponsible dog owners bring death to trees
Tuesday 1 July 2008
Dozens of trees have been damaged and some killed in Haringey’s biggest public park by dogs being encouraged to chew and scratch on bark to strengthen their jaws and claws.
Haringey Council believes at least 20 trees will have to be removed from Finsbury Park, N4, because of the activity – primarily used to train fighting dogs. Approximately 100 trees in total have been damaged and are now at risk.
The activity has caused particular devastation among a new avenue of poplars recently planted in Finsbury Park.
There have also been recent reports of dog fighting around the softball area in the park, which won Green Flag status from the Civic Trust for the first time last year after a £5million regeneration project.
The council is now urging all dog owners to act responsibly by not encouraging their dogs to chew at tree bark and not getting involved in dog fighting.
It is also asking anyone who witnesses either dogs chewing on trees or dog fighting, to report it immediately it to the Parks Constabulary on 020 7272 5464.
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Lifelong Learning, Cllr Dhiren Basu, said:
“There has been an enormous amount of time and effort spent by the council and its partners in making Finsbury Park one of the best open spaces in the country.
“We can’t allow all of this to be placed at risk by the actions of a few cruel and misguided individuals who want to train their dogs to fight.
“Not only is dog fighting a barbaric sport that belongs in the Dark Ages, the training methods involved are ruining the appearance of a beautiful park.
“We cannot be everywhere at all times, so we rely heavily on people reporting these kind of activities if we’re going to catch those responsible. If you see this kind of behaviour, please give us a call and let us know.”
All reports will be treated in confidence by the council.