Dog strips bark off trees in 'terrible act of vandalism' at park in Dagenham
- Credit: Susan Parsons
A dog has stripped trees of their bark in "a terrible act of vandalism" at a Dagenham park.
The trees line a path through Valence Park in Grafton Road and are believed to have been planted about five years ago.
But a dog is reported to have gnawed them bare at about 9.30am on Saturday, June 12.
Susan Parsons was walking her own dogs, Boysie and Nellie, in the park when she spotted the mutilated trunks.
She said: "It's a terrible act of vandalism. Before I got near I could see something was different. Every single one of them had been done.
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"It was really upsetting. Those poor trees will slowly die now. Those trees were put there for us to walk under, provide shade and oxygen and they will be gone. They've been slaughtered, for want of a better word."
The 64-year-old explained how she nearly cried when she saw the damage, adding that 15 trees were affected and criticising the hound's owner for not acting responsibly.
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"I remember thinking [when the trees were planted], 'I wonder if I'll be there when they provide enough shade'. I thought it would be nice to live long enough to see that day," Susan said.
A spokesperson for Barking and Dagenham Council said: "Some dog walkers and residents have informed us that a man let his dog chew the young trees and when challenged, he became aggressive.
"We are working with our enforcement officers and the police to identify the perpetrator."
David Elliott, chief executive at Trees for Cities, said the tree planting charity occasionally receives reports of dogs damaging trees, usually when they are being trained for fighting.
He added: "Sadly, given these trees are young and so much bark has been lost, they will almost certainly die. More mature trees can sustain some level of bark damage, but young trees are very susceptible.
"It is always very sad to hear of vandalism, particularly given how vital trees are to our urban environments in regards to air quality, carbon capture, flood prevention, heat absorption and not to mention the benefits trees and green spaces bring for our physical and mental wellbeing."