London

Action to stop dangerous dog training in play areas

Damaged swing seat
Image caption Swing seats treated with insect repellent citronella are being trialled in Sutton

Steps have been taken to stop children's play areas in south London being used as training grounds for dangerous dogs.

Sutton Council said fighting dogs were forced to dangle from swing seats in order to strengthen their jaw muscles and make them more aggressive.

The council claims it costs £6,600 a year to repair the damage they cause.

Swing seats treated with insect repellent citronella are being trialled in the borough.

Liberal Democrat Sutton councillor Simon Wales said: "Not only is the problem expensive, it's also extremely dangerous.

"When dogs bite into the material, it leaves an unpleasant taste which dogs are known to dislike.

"The seat mixture is unpleasant but not harmful to the dogs; it's only a pity we can't find a repellent for the dog owners who degrade their animals in this way."

In August, it was revealed how some councils, including Southwark, in south London, had resorted to smearing non-toxic grease on trees in public parks to stop them being damaged by fighting dogs.

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