A golf club admitted it has killed foxes it says were repeatedly damaging the course.
Stanmore Golf Club said it had been forced to “deal with” some foxes that had were digging up its grounds, but strongly denied claims it has been frequently shooting them for several years.
It comes following a plea from the South London Animal Protection group, which urged the golf club to make sure problem foxes are dealt with humanely.
In an open letter, the group said: “There have been multiple eyewitness claims from locals that for a few years now, foxes, juveniles and cubs have been shot on your grounds.
“We vehemently oppose the slaughter of any animals and any suggestion that shooting foxes is a form of pest control has long been established to be false as the practice is ineffective and counter productive.
“Public feeling towards killing foxes is at an all time high and we hope that moving forward you can join other golf clubs that have committed to compassionate practices.”
In a statement, the golf club said: “Stanmore Golf Club takes pride in the care of our local environment, the quality of our golf course and playing surfaces.
“We are very proud of the wildlife that inhabits the course, notably muntjac deer which successfully breed each year, and the bird life and wild flora around the course.
“Over the past few days there have been reports online that we are culling foxes.
“This is not true, we have on rare occasions had to deal with certain individual foxes that have continually caused an unacceptable amount of damage, this is always a last resort and done with a heavy heart.
“These are habitual creatures that visit the same area each night. We have and continue to try cultural and humane methods to discourage this activity and have taken note of the suggestions offered in social media and have arranged to meet with Fox-A-Gon.”