Alert for dog owners after tennis ball with razor blades found in Belfast park
Dogs in Belvoir Forest have been the target of an "obscene" attack after a tennis ball was found with razor blades inside.
Connor Pinfold (23), who runs the Just Pawing About dog walking business, posted a message on Facebook warning those in the area to be vigilant.
The incident was reported to him by a dog walking friend who found the tennis ball on the ground yesterday, not far from the car park.
Mr Pinfold typically walks the forest route near Belfast up to three times a day. He has heard rumours of poisoned food being left on the ground but had never seen any razor blades before.
"It is disgusting behaviour. The dogs are like family," he said.
He added he was appalled someone would target dogs.
According to Mr Pinfold, any dog that picked up one of these balls would inevitably require major surgery - traumatic for the animal and very expensive for the owner.
Other dog owners in the walking route were also shocked.
Tony McGurran (65) has been walking his dogs in the park for decades.
He said nothing would put him off going there, but asked those responsible to "think about it" in terms of the consequences such actions could have.
He said those responsible "need serious counselling".
Another walker, Janice Mills (53) from Rosetta, had been alerted to the danger after a friend showed her the Facebook post.
She said she had never seen anything like this in the park before. Asked how she felt about the situation she said: "Scared - the dogs always lift tennis balls".
She was particularly concerned as she does not want any other dog she is minding to get hurt by such cruel acts.
She described those responsible as "mindless" and recommended that all dog walkers should make sure their animals are looked after at all times during their walk.
Alliance councillor Kate Nicholl was made aware of the social media post and has since contacted the Belfast parks manager and Lagan Valley Regional Parks team.
According to a response on the councillor's Facebook page, park rangers have advised that this appears to be a one-off incident, having patrolled the area. However, rangers have said they are continuing to keep an eye out for anything.
The councillor condemned the action as "a terribly senseless thing to do" and said she hopes it does not deter dog walkers. She asked anyone who may encounter any such object to report it to the PSNI.