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Stone playground damage blamed on dog owners strengthening animals' jaws

PUBLISHED: 17:29 16 September 2013 | UPDATED: 17:29 16 September 2013

Playground damage in Stone is being blamed on vandals using the equipment to strengthen the jaws of their dogs

Playground damage in Stone is being blamed on vandals using the equipment to strengthen the jaws of their dogs

Archant

Dog owners using playground equipment to strengthen the jaws of their animals are being blamed for damage at a park in Stone, which will cost local taxpayers hundreds to repair and could cause attacks on children, residents fear.

Stone Parish Council staff became aware of the problem during a routine inspection of play facilities at one of its playgrounds in Waterstone Park, with teeth marks visible on various items of playground equipment.

Five swing seats and a pendulum base for a zip line have been damaged beyond repair,meaning the playground is virtually unusable for children until damaged items are replaced at an expected bill of around £700.

Vice-Chair of the council, Cllr Stephanie Thredgle said: “This is a worrying situation, not only because of the need to spend taxpayers’ money on repairing such irresponsible damage but also because of the potential for harm to come to a child by dogs who perceive playground equipment as something to attack.

“This is anti-social behaviour in a play area that is intended as a safe environment for local children to enjoy. We would ask that local residents are vigilant to this and report such activity if it is witnessed to prevent further episodes.”

The recreation and facilities committee of the council will be discussing the incident at its next meeting on Wednesday, September 25, including consideration of replacement items made with impregnated Citronella that aims to deter dogs from biting equipment because of its horrible taste which dogs are known to dislike. The seat mixture is unpleasant but not harmful.

Reports of dog owners using playground swings to strengthen dogs jaws have also been noted elsewhere in the country, seemingly fuelled by a desire of some to own tough-looking breeds which are often used as “status symbols”.

Websites for training dogs such as Pitbulls advocate such practices and demonstrate dogs hanging on objects like tyres or swings to increase jaw strength.

Anyone with details regarding the damage which is likely to have occurred between September 6 to 8 can contact Kent Police on 101 using reference 09/07/92.

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