Council urges people not to let dogs destroy trees

Hackney Council is urging local dog owners to stop their dogs biting and scratching tree trunks, causing irreversible damage.

Over the past couple of years Hackney has seen an increase in the numbers of trees stripped of their bark by dogs. As well as allowing their pets to bite the trunks, some dog owners also pull down branches for the dogs to bite, breaking the branches.

Once this happens the tree is at risk of dying because the sap cannot flow from the roots to feed the leaves and shoots. Large wounds in the trunk also make a tree vulnerable to infection which can weaken the tree to its death.

Over the last few years, a large number of trees have been attacked in this way resulting in the loss of trees in Hackney parks. Severe damage can kill trees, which have to be removed and replaced at huge cost to the Council. The problem is present in parks throughout the borough, but Hackney Downs has been particularly badly affected recently.

To stop this happening to more trees the Council fenced in 29 trees in Hackney Downs last year, and put up posters advising people of the problem.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health Social Care and Culture says: “Some dog owners may believe they are doing their pet good by ‘exercising’ their jaws, teeth or claws and not realise the long term damage they are doing to the trees.

“As well as affecting their individual appearance, if trees are cut down it ruins the patterns of well established trees that have been growing for decades. I urge all dog owners to act responsibly with their dogs and consider how their actions can harm the environment.”

If you see anyone allowing their dogs to damage tress and would like to report it, please inform the Council’s Parks Service on 020 8356 8429. For information on Hackney’s parks please visit

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