Fighting dogs are being trained in a picturesque park, causing damage to trees, it was claimed today.
An operation is now being carried out to find out exactly how trees at Bloxwich Promenade Gardens, off High Street, are being damaged.
There are fears that the damage may have been caused during the training of fighting dogs, after large chunks of bark were ripped away, including from a 50-year-old tree.
Councillor Kath Phillips, who represents Bloxwich East, said passersby have reported seeing a dog jumping over 6ft at the tree and pulling pieces of bark off. She urged members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour or activities to the police.
“I believe people are training dogs for fighting,” said Councillor Phillips.
“We have put extra precautions in place to try and catch the culprits, as this amounts to criminal damage. These gardens need to be looked after as they are very beautiful.
“For people to come along and damage them in this way is abhorrent.”
She says other problems were reported at nearby King George V playing fields several months ago.
It comes after complaints were made about fighting dogs being trained at Bearwood Park, in Sandwell, this month. Bull-terrier type dogs are the most often used in dog fighting. Fighting dogs are encouraged to sharpen their teeth by ripping bark from trees and strengthen their jaws by hanging from branches.
In recent years there have been cases of dog attacks on people in the Black Country.
A report issued by Birmingham City Council this year named Willenhall, West Bromwich, Wednesfield and Halesowen as the worst places for attacks in the West Midlands.
Last year, council bosses in the London district of Southwark smeared non-toxic grease on trees in public parks to stop them being damaged by fighting dogs.