Dogs damage swings in Hatfield

YOBS with powerful dogs are causing damage to children’s play equipment across Hatfield, the Welwyn Hatfield Times can reveal.

The seats of a number of swings have had large chunks bitten out of them by the canines, leaving council tax payers in the town to foot the repair bill.

It is believed that unscrupulous dog owners are forcing their pets to clamp their teeth around the seats and make them dangle in the air in order to strengthen their jaw muscles.

A number of parks in the town, including those in Ellenbrook, Newstead and Millwards, have been targeted.

Cllr Geoff Wiltshire, leader of Hatfield Town Council, said: “This is a very disturbing trend which ruins equipment supplied for children to use and costs the council tax payer unnecessary expense.

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“We will be working with suppliers and other agencies to find a way to prevent this happening in the future.”

Colin Smith, from the council’s technical services department, said that one option being explored was the installation of swing seats impregnated with a harmless chemical that dogs find foul-tasting.

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The police are also aware of the problems. Sgt Malcolm Dey, from the Hatfield Neighbourhood Team, said: “We are aware of the damage to the swings.

“Officers from the neighbourhood team are taking positive action to prevent further incidents.

As part of regular patrols, Pcsos have been inspecting the areas affected and recording damage to play equipment.

“The team takes incidents surrounding dangerous dogs very seriously.

“We have seized a number of dogs which are considered dangerous breeds and prosecuted their owners.

“In addition, we have prosecuted owners who have let their dogs be dangerously out of control in public places.”

“I would encourage people to report any irresponsible owners or incidents where they have seen the damage to the swings to police so we can act accordingly.”

Call police on 0845 33 00 222 with information.

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