Clampdown on dogs chewing swings
Dogs that chew on playground swing seats will now find they taste a bit "ruff" after council bosses decided to lace the material with insect repellent.
The move is being made to prevent thousands of pounds worth of damage caused when canines clamp their powerful jaws on to the playground structures.
Staff at Sutton Council in south London believe that owners of fighting dogs are forcing the animals to dangle from swing seats to strengthen their jaws.
It is estimated that around three swing seats per month are being damaged, with the rubber torn away to expose a metal core. This costs more than £6,600 per year to repair.
New seats with the insect repellent citronella baked into them are being trialled to keep dogs away.
Simon Wales, of Sutton Council, said: "Not only is the canine carnage problem expensive, it's also extremely dangerous.
"The seats we are trialling are made with oil of citronella baked into the black rubber mix. 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."
Council staff are also working with police to prevent animal abuse.