Family pet injured after walk in vandalised Waterside play park

The badly vandalised play park in Bard's Hill in the Waterside.
The badly vandalised play park in Bard's Hill in the Waterside.
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A family pet was left bleeding after it walked on broken glass in a vandalised park in the Waterside.

Since the injury, five year-old Akita-Husky, Reuben, has been taken to the vets four times in the last two weeks.

Five year-old Akita-Husky, Reuben, cut his foot on broken glass after been taken for a walk near a play park in the Waterside.

Five year-old Akita-Husky, Reuben, cut his foot on broken glass after been taken for a walk near a play park in the Waterside.

The incident happened at a Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) play park in Bard’s Hill.

“We didn’t know what happened to Reuben until my husband came home with him after the walk - it was dark outside so my husband couldn’t see the blood,” said owner Sarah Burke.

“We first noticed the blood when we went upstairs and saw blood on the landing carpet. I must have spent the best part of four hours cleaning up the blood.

“Never mind the financial cost, it’s heartbreaking to witness your pet in such distress. Reuben is like part of the family.”

HOTSPOT FOR ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

The play park in Bard’s Hill has been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and in recent weeks it has been alleged young people are using the park as a place to take drugs.

“This isn’t the first time that this has happened to Reuben. It first happened at around the time of the burning of the Temple but I just put it down to more people than normal being in the area.

“Last week was the final straw - young people are vandalising the park and smashing bottles.

It’s a sad state of affairs that you can’t take your dog for a walk without the fear of him slicing open one of his paws,” added Sarah.

Waterside Sinn Fein councillor, Christopher Jackson, told the ‘Journal’ he was concerned at the level of anti-social behaviour near the park.

“I’ve been contacted by many residents in the area about what has been happening at the play park.

“When I visited the park after the most recent spate of vandalism I saw bongs (a device used for smoking drugs)and empty aerosol cans. The park was littered with broken glass and residents’ wheelie bins had been set on fire.

“This is part of Derry that has high levels of deprivation - the Top of the Hill area needs and deserves everything it can get so the last thing we need is people vandalising the little we do have,” added Colr. Jackson.

A spokesperson for DCSDC confirmed that there has been an ongoing problem with vandalism at the play park.

“Council’s maintenance section have been notified to action the repairs at the play park and we continue to work with community representatives in the Top of the Hill area to deal with this issue.

“We urge the public to keep in mind the fact that these facilities are there to benefit families in the Waterside area and such damage affects the entire community.”