Trees killed off by dog attacks


[from Tottenham, Wood Green and Edmonton Journal]

Trees killed off by dog attacks

nlnews@archant.co.uk
09 July 2008

FIGHTING dogs are being bated by “irresponsible” owners to attack trees in Finsbury Park, killing or damaging hundreds of them.

Haringey Council says at least 100 trees have been damaged and up to 20 will have to be removed from the park, with an avenue of recently planted poplars the scene of “particular devastation”. The council says owners have been encouraging dogs to chew and scratch bark to strengthen their jaws and claws for fights.

The softball area of the park has also been used for dog fighting, according to reports.

Councillor Dhiren Basu, Haringey’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and lifelong learning, said enormous time and effort had been spent on making the park one of the best in the country.

He said: “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.”

Dog walker Frances Blackburn, 60, of Ferme Park Road, Finsbury Park, said herself and many others who use the park are upset about the loss of older trees.

She said: “They cut the bark on the tree and then the dogs run up and peel it off, you can see the teeth marks.” She added: “It’s wicked because they’ve spent so much time and effort on the park. I don’t know how much damage they’ve caused the trees but they won’t survive.”

The council has urged all dog owners to act responsibly.

Anyone who witnesses dog fighting or dogs chewing trees is asked to report it immediately and in confidence to the Parks Constabulary on 020 7272 5464.

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