|Dog walker van parked at Fryent Country Park*|
The November 14th Executive will be asked to agree the introduction of the Dog Control Orders in parks. The Orders would limit to six the maximum number of dogs that may be taken onto land by one person; exclude dogs from playgrounds, multi-use games areas, tennis and netball courts and bowling greens; and specify certain areas where dogs are to be kept on leads.
I welcome the limitation on dog numbers being walked by one person. Professional dog walkers have increasingly been using Fryent Country Park as other boroughs have introduced limits in their parks. The walkers, who charge up to £10 an hour for each dog, sometime have very large numbers of dogs off their leads in the park. I have counted 15 with one walker. The dogs act as an excitable pack, often rampaging well ahead of the walker, and clearly not under immediate control. It appears to be impossible for that person to be able to pick up all the excrement deposited. In the summer I saw several dogs from a large group rushing around the pony paddock at Bush Farm with the walker nowhere in sight.
I take classes of primary school children to Fryent Country Park for nature walks with Brent School Without Walls. Generally dog walkers are sensitive and put their dogs on a lead when approaching their children, or take a route to avoid them. However, I have had encounters with the large groups of dogs when the front-runners, off their leads, see the children, or smell their picnic lunches, and rampage around them, often frightening those children not used to dogs. Again the dog walker is well behind the leading dogs and thus not available to intervene. The mix of excited dogs and scared children is potentially dangerous.
From my chats with local people walking their companion dogs I think the Orders will be generally welcomed. One issue on which the orders are silent is more than one person walking with a large group of dogs. Two people could have 12 dogs between them
* The criticism of professional dog walkers in this posting are not aimed specifically at the owners of this van.