Monday 14 November 2011

Well doggone! Dog Orders Approved

Multiple dog walker in Fryent Country Park

 Brent Executive tonight approved new Dog Control Orders for Parks and Open Spaces. It restricts the total number of dogs that can be taken onto land  by any one person to six, excludes dogs from certain areas such as playgrounds and specifies areas where dogs should be kept on leads.

A local resident spoke in favour of reducing the maximum to 4 reflecting lower numbers in neighbouring boroughs and for more controls in Edward VII Park Willesden because of the number of children using the park. She also advocated restrictions on the length of leads as dogs as those on long leads were less easily controlled.

I spoke in favour of the  restriction on numbers walked by an individual and told councillors about my experience of encountering packs of up to 15 dogs in Fryent Country Park accompanied by a single 'professional' dog walker, and the danger this posed to children, and animals such as the horses at Bush Farm.  I warned about the difficulties of enforcing the Order when many of the professional dogs walkers come from outside Brent, having been displaced by similar Orders in their own boroughs.  There was also the possibility that they would bring a friend and thus increase the number of dogs they could lawfully walk.

Cll;r Powney (yep - he's in charge of this as well) said the policy would be reviewed after a year as the Council hadn't had such a policy before and needed to assess its enforcement.   Cllr Gavin Sneddon suggested that rather than a review after one year there should be one after six months and Cllr Powney (yep, he's is charge of this as well!) accepted the proposal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In forty years of walking in open spaces I have seen a few changes. Regrettably, the biggest change is in the number of children using and enjoying the outdoors which has reduced dramatically - presumably due to the popularity of indoor activities revolving around the ubiquitous computer. I have also noticed that some people walking their dogs are so involved with their mobile phones or their i-pods that they are not vigilant when their dog defecates or becomes a nuisance. People walking groups of dogs, on the other hand, seem scrupulous about these things - presumably because they wish to avoid causing offence as their livelihoods depend on this. It is, therefore, disappointing that these people are the ones selected for "special treatment" (one could say "persecution") by the authorities.

Dog walkers make up the largest group of users of open spaces. Every day without fail and whatever the weather. If you want to know about flora and fauna, ask a daily dog walker. Dog ownership has grown - perhaps because a large proportion of the population now live alone and the companionship of a dog is important to them. We have ample legislation to deal with picking up after your dog and out of control dogs. Perhaps the Council should be paying more attention to adherence to existing legislation before it considered yet more Orders which will be expensive to police and administer. And perhaps those people who apparently find the mere sight of a dog offensive should bear in mind that open spaces are for all, and tolerance is a virtue. What next? The banning of anything which may become litter? Forbidding children's voices because some find it disturbing?