Sunday 26 August 2012

Efficacy of dog walking limits need to be reviewed

Dog walkers on Barn Hill earlier this week
I spoke at the Brent Council Executive in November last year LINK on the proposed restrictions on the number of dogs one person could walk in Brent parks. The proposal was to restrict the numbers walked by 'professional dog walkers' who earn upwards of £10 per dog per walk, to six. I had witnessed one dog walker with 15 dogs.

I suggested that enforcement would be a problem with the number of wardens cuts and many of the walkers coming from outside Brent.  I was also concerned that they would bring along a friend and thus reduce the ratio to the prescribed limit.

At the same meeting Cllr Powney agreed to a suggestion by Cllr Gavin Sneddon that the dog control orders should be reviewed after 6 months.  This appears not to have been done yet.

Last week I came across the dog walkers above on Barn Hill in Fryent Country Park  (there is another dog out of the picture) and two women who appeared to be waiting for them to move on.  The  women told me that the previous day they had been jogging around the field and were pursued by a pack of dogs, they thought there more than in the above picture, and that the solitary dog walker with them was unable to call them off.  A confrontation ensued about her lack of control.  As a result the women were now fearful of jogging when large numbers of dogs are around and it had spoiled their enjoyment of the park. They did remark that the walkers in the above picture appeared to have their dogs under better control but they were not taking any chances.

I am concerned that if this situation continues the public will be put off using the park and, in the worst case, there could be a serious incident. One dog walker who contacted me by e-mail to berate  Brent Council for introducing the ban quite unselfconsciously referred to 'my pack' of dogs. We really shouldn't be in the position of having packs of out of control dogs roaming in one of our Green Flag parks.

A review of the effectiveness of this policy is urgently needed.

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