Harold Wood family “devastated” after pet crushed in outdoor gym area, Harold Wood Park

A Harold Wood family is calling for better safety measures in Havering parks after its puppy was crushed to death by outdoor gym equipment.

Five-month-old Chihuahua Chico was walking in Harold Wood Park with 19-year-old student Danielle Harman, of Rosslyn Avenue, when he dashed under an exercise platform that was in use.

The machine allows its user to pull his or her weight up and down off the ground.

Sadly, Chico was underneath the raised platform as it dropped several inches back down to the floor – fracturing his skull so badly vets had to put him down.

Danielle’s mum Louise, 40, said outdoor gym areas – of which Havering has 10 – should have fencing and warning signs put up to protect pets and small children.

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“It’s free for kids to jump on and all sorts,” she said. “It should be fenced off.”

She added: “It’s right next to the toddler play area. There could have been a child’s foot there.”

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Louise said Chico’s death had hit her other daughter, seven-year-old Ellie, particularly hard.

Ellie has taken to placing pictures of her lost pet around the house.

“My little girl is devastated,” said Louise. “The kids really adored him.”

Cllr Andrew Curtin, Havering’s cabinet member for towns, communities and culture, said: “We are sorry to hear about the death of this pet. There are absolutely no safety problems with the equipment in the park. The council takes the safety of its equipment and outdoor gyms very seriously. They are checked on annual basis by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Ropsa). We have had no reports of any accidents in Harold Wood Park in recent months.

“The equipment is clearly signed and we ask that responsible dog owners keep their pets on a lead.”

But Danielle told the Recorder: “I strongly believe that the loss of our family pet could have been avoided if there were safety precautions put in place in and around the outdoor gyms.

“Losing a much loved pet is generally taken less seriously than losing a person, but my family and I have lost a relationship and a friend through an accident that could have been avoided.”

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