Is greasing trees to deter dogs a barking expense?

21 June 2011
I thought I’d heard all the unusual ways authorities spend public money, but that was before Southwark Council started greasing up trees to stop dogs attacking them. Apparently, the owners of dangerous dogs encourage the animals to gnaw on the bark of trees to strengthen their jaws ahead of fights. In the six months leading up to December 2010, this behaviour led to the loss of 18 trees in the borough and left 140 more damaged. The council said £2,000 was spent between June and December 2010 replacing trees damaged in this way. The local authority is responsible for the direct management, maintenance and care of about 57,000 trees in the borough. It has a goal to ensure that by 2015, the majority of Southwark’s trees are healthy and in a safe condition. The grease that’s been applied is so foul to taste that the canines refuse to chew it but it is not yet known what saving the council hopes to make from this move. When it comes to cutbacks, the trees may have to go. Let’s just hope councillors’ spending plans aren’t barking up the wrong tree.
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