Visitors and the ranger of a Lincoln park have lodged reports to police after it was claimed a man allowed his dog to chase and kill a squirrel in front of families.
A local mum, who did not wish to be named, witnessed what she described as a vicious attack while walking in Hartsholme Country Park with her young daughter and niece over the weekend.
The incident happened on the morning of Sunday, July 2. The witness said she believed the man let his dog free with the intention of allowing it to kill squirrels.
She told The Lincolnite: “A few weeks back we met this gentleman in what is known in the park as the main feeding area. He was there with his dog allowing the dog to watch the squirrels clearly with the intention in catching them.
“My dad spoke to him at the time and he admitted to bringing his dog here to kill the squirrels.
“On Sunday, July 2 we arrived to feed the squirrels and this man was in the feeding area again with his dog off the lead.
“He was stood still with the intention of allowing his dog to catch the squirrels.
“Unfortunately my mum and niece were sat on the bench just across from us. A squirrel came over as they do and took a nut.
“The dog came around us and managed to grab this squirrel as it was running back towards the tree.
“The man showed no remorse, walking off with the dog and picking up the squirrel once the dog had laid it on the ground.”
The matter has now been reported to Lincolnshire Police under incident number 236 of July 2
Paul Rodgers, Park Ranger at Hartsholme Country Park said: “We were made aware of an incident on Sunday where visitors to the park saw a man allegedly let his dog off the lead, before the dog went on to kill a squirrel in front of young children.
“Hartsholme prides itself on being a family-friendly park, and we do not condone any behaviour that may upset our visitors.
“We have reported the matter to Lincolnshire Police.”
PC Nick Willey, Wildlife Crime Officer at Lincolnshire Police, said: “This particular animal can be dispatched humanely complying with Animal Welfare Act 2006 guidelines.
“That in mind to catch and release a squirrel for a dog to kill is an offence.
“A concern is that this action was taking place within a children’s play area so I would have concerns over the safety of children and other members of the public.
“Anybody with any information should contact Lincs police by calling 101, or calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”