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David Blunkett’s guide dog is accused of killing squirrels in Green Park

Lord Blunkett has become embroiled in a heated row over claims that his beloved guide dog is a squirrel killer.

Devastated park goers have complained to police and park management after allegedly witnessing Barley, the former Home Secretary’s guide dog kill two squirrels while being taken for a walk.

The incidents reportedly took place in Green Park, central London in September and October while Lord Blunkett and an aide let Barley off the leash to stretch his legs.

According to an eyewitness, who filmed and photographed Barley running through the park, his alleged victims were a baby squirrel and an older, ‘junior’ squirrel.

The eye-witness told MailOnline: ‘It was horrific. I walk in the park every day and see Lord Blunkett very regularly. He lets his dog off the leash, and it runs around preying on the squirrels while he is oblivious to what it’s doing.

Lord Blunkett has become embroiled in a heated row over claims that his beloved guide dog is a squirrel killer

Lord Blunkett has become embroiled in a heated row over claims that his beloved guide dog is a squirrel killer

Lord Blunkett has become embroiled in a heated row over claims that his beloved guide dog is a squirrel killer

Devastated park goers have complained to police and park management after allegedly witnessing Barley, the former Home Secretary’s guide dog kill two squirrels while being taken for a walk

Devastated park goers have complained to police and park management after allegedly witnessing Barley, the former Home Secretary’s guide dog kill two squirrels while being taken for a walk

Devastated park goers have complained to police and park management after allegedly witnessing Barley, the former Home Secretary’s guide dog kill two squirrels while being taken for a walk

According to an eyewitness, who filmed and photographed Barley running through the park, his alleged victims were a baby squirrel and an older, ‘junior’ squirrel (stock image)

According to an eyewitness, who filmed and photographed Barley running through the park, his alleged victims were a baby squirrel and an older, ‘junior’ squirrel (stock image)

According to an eyewitness, who filmed and photographed Barley running through the park, his alleged victims were a baby squirrel and an older, ‘junior’ squirrel (stock image)

‘It was horrible to see those poor squirrels being killed like that. I have not been able to sleep at night and can hear them screaming out in pain.

‘I go to the park to relax and enjoy the environment and don’t want to be confronted by big, killer dogs.’

But Lord Blunkett, 73 hit back, describing squirrels as ‘tree rats’ but insisting that Barley did not have it in him to kill them.

He fumed: ‘Absolutely yes, he chases after squirrels but never catches them.

‘There’s no law against dogs chasing tree rats.’

Lord Blunkett also staunchly defended Barley against allegations that he is a killer.

He added: ‘My dog would not kill a fly. My dog is a guide dog. If anybody wants to complain to me, they can.’

The former Labour minister and Sheffield MP now sits in the House of Lords and hinted that there might be a campaign against him and Barley by fellow park goers.

He said: ‘I once had one of them throw a dead squirrel at me, which had rigor mortis. This only sets in after somebody has been dead for several hours. It had nothing to do with Barley.’ 

Lord Blunkett, 73 hit back, describing squirrels as ‘tree rats’ but insisting that Barley did not have it in him to kill them

Lord Blunkett, 73 hit back, describing squirrels as ‘tree rats’ but insisting that Barley did not have it in him to kill them

He fumed: ‘Absolutely yes, he chases after squirrels but never catches them.There’s no law against dogs chasing tree rats’

He fumed: ‘Absolutely yes, he chases after squirrels but never catches them.There’s no law against dogs chasing tree rats’

The incidents reportedly took place in Green Park, central London in September and October while Lord Blunkett and an aide let Barley off the leash to stretch his legs

The former Labour minister and Sheffield MP now sits in the House of Lords and hinted that there might be a campaign against him and Barley by fellow park goers

The former Labour minister and Sheffield MP now sits in the House of Lords and hinted that there might be a campaign against him and Barley by fellow park goers

The former Labour minister and Sheffield MP now sits in the House of Lords and hinted that there might be a campaign against him and Barley by fellow park goers

He said: ‘I once had one of them throw a dead squirrel at me, which had rigor mortis. This only sets in after somebody has been dead for several hours. It had nothing to do with Barley’

He said: ‘I once had one of them throw a dead squirrel at me, which had rigor mortis. This only sets in after somebody has been dead for several hours. It had nothing to do with Barley’

He said: ‘I once had one of them throw a dead squirrel at me, which had rigor mortis. This only sets in after somebody has been dead for several hours. It had nothing to do with Barley’

But one complainant denied that she had anything against Lord Blunkett, insisting she was only motivated by a love of animals.

She protested: ‘I’m a vegetarian but I’m not a radical activist. I cook meat for my boyfriend and don’t want to impose my views on other people. 

‘But Lord Blunkett should know better when he is out in the park with his dog. I don’t understand why he allows him to get away with this kind of behaviour. I just want to save the squirrels and other wildlife, that’s all.’

Green Park is one of eight Royal Parks in the capital and management confirmed that a campaign is to be launched to ensure owners behave more responsibly when it comes to walking their dogs.

This will involve putting up posters and dog owners being made aware that it is against the law for their pets to kill any wildlife. Officials have refused to identify any specific culprits.

Management confirmed that Royal Parks regulations forbid 'any animal or bird of which a visitor is in charge to chase, worry, or injure any other animal or bird'

Management confirmed that Royal Parks regulations forbid 'any animal or bird of which a visitor is in charge to chase, worry, or injure any other animal or bird'

Management confirmed that Royal Parks regulations forbid ‘any animal or bird of which a visitor is in charge to chase, worry, or injure any other animal or bird’

Barley, who is around four years old, is a retriever/German shepherd cross weighing in at just under 80lb who Lord Blunkett acquired in 2018. This is his seventh guide dog.

Management confirmed that Royal Parks regulations forbid ‘any animal or bird of which a visitor is in charge to chase, worry, or injure any other animal or bird.’

A management official added: ‘Animal interactions (feeding wildlife, dogs on lead) has been included on the three main policing priorities for the coming period.’

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