Poll: Should dogs be kept on a lead in Norwich’s parks? Father calls for action after two-year-old son is injured

Roberto Ramirez is demanding that Norwich City Council takes action after his son Luciano was knocked over in Heigham Park by a dog that was not kept on a lead.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Roberto Ramirez is demanding that Norwich City Council takes action after his son Luciano was knocked over in Heigham Park by a dog that was not kept on a lead. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Donna-Louise Bishop donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk
Friday, July 11, 2014
6:30 AM

A father from Norwich is appealing for action against dog owners who fall foul of guidelines at an Earlham park after his two-year-old son had to go to hospital after being knocked down.

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What started as a game of hide-and-seek for Roberto Ramirez and his son Luciano, turned into tragedy after a dog, who had been let off its lead in Heigham Park, tried to jump over the child, causing him to fall on the back of his head.

And after he started to bleed, Mr Ramirez, of Gladstone Street, off Dereham Road, took his son the accident and emergency department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Now the 29-year-old is calling for more action to be taken against dog owners who do not supervise their pets and wants Norwich City Council to enforce a rule for dogs to be put on a lead in the park.

He said: “Dog owners do not seem to take the rules seriously, or the potential danger and inconvenience to others. If you are aware, the rules are that dogs are kept under control and that they are kept from the games field - neither of which are observed at the moment.

“My son has been visibly wary of the dogs since the incident and often mentions it, which is not how anyone should feel within the park.

“I understand other parks prohibit dogs completely, which I don’t think is necessary as long as the rules are properly enforced, but I hope something is done about it before anything more serious happens.”

Mr Ramirez and his partner Sophie Parke, 25, addressed their concerns in a letter to the city council.

But Adrian Akester, head of citizen services, said it was “difficult” to enforce action but was seeking legal advice.

“The by-law is so badly worded that it is very difficult to enforce,” he said. “I understand all we can do is ask for people to leave the park which just moves the problem on elsewhere.

“We do recognise the seriousness of the issue especially when incidents like this happen.

“I have asked the neighbourhood teams if they can visit the park and speak with people where they find dogs off lead to encourage them to control their dogs properly.”

• Do you think dogs should be kept on leads in Norwich’s parks? Write to the Letter’s Editor, with full details of name and address, at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

28 comments

  • Heigham Park has a sign at the entrance asking that dogs should be kept on the lead, owners should clear up after them and that they should not be in the play area or games field. Keep to that and everything is fine. If dog owners are not cool with this advice then they should talk to the council to get the park re designated as a dog friendly park, not just ignore the advice because they see themselves as "responsible" dog owners. Here's the thing. No dog owner characterises themselves as one of the 1% of irresponsible dog owners. There are no demon swaggering staffy owners out to deliberately foul Heigham Park - and proud of it. I’m afraid it’s the responsible dog owners who let their dogs off the lead who are responsible for the fouling and incidents on the park. Give yourselves a break and go to Mousehold or Earlaham and let the kids have Heigham.

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    Barney

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • I would be absolutely horrified if my dog was to run up to other people and children, he is only 7 months so is on a flexi lead when in open spaces so i have some form of control while im training him. see if someone said to me excuse me can you call your dog back id apologise massivily to them, but u very often get people be very rude to you which isnt needed.

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    Jamie Read

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • There is now a debate on the Pink un's non footie message boardforum, without the inconsequential poll by the corgi news.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • Last year I had visitors and we planned a sumptious picnic at Withlingham. Little did we know that we shared this with the dogs of happy go lucky owners oblivious to the fact that dogs noses are attracted to smells, whether this is another dogs excrement or the food in our basket. Our pleads were met with stern looks and mumbled comments of why don't you sit somewhere else. Parks are for recreation, fresh air and fun with the children first. I do not object to dogs in parks, but they should be on leads. Such issue is not to be done by some emotional poll in a regional establishment newspaper, but be a considered debate about the issue in public. I'd like to take part and argue the point of public health were free running dogs are concerned. And NO, I did not vote in this poll.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • There are certain places in Norwich where find 2 footed animals who should be on a lead and muzzled, try driving round Norwich after dark and there are plenty of kids who act like animals and should then be treated as such and placed in a Zoo. Friday and Saturday nights in the centre you will see plenty of woofers on 2 feet. Drive round places like Larkman,lakenham,Earlham,Heartease.and its like a zoo.

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    Lyn Flatt

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • So 63% think that dogs should be kept on leads in parks. It makes sense in public places. I have had dogs all my adult life but I spend a long time training them to be sociable and to walk, sit and stay. They will not move until they are called by me. If others bothered to do this, dogs would be safe in public. Out of courtesy to other walkers I always slip the lead on my dog when we meet someone and I expect others to do the same but often they don't and my dog has been attacked by uncontrolled dogs and it's just not fair.

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    samphirelover

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • Dogs may be family pets but they are not human. They are animals. Dog owners should not expect others to treat them as if they were human. And a dog off a lead in a public park is ipso facto not under the owner's control.

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    marty r

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Seems the biggest whingers here are the dog owners complaining about everyone's against them. Years ago if this happened the dog would have got a kicking, but now that's cruelty. Years ago people saw them as what they are, animals, and not the over pampered child replacement they have become. Keep your dog under control or don't have one, it is your choice and therefore your responsibility to make sure you are able to look after it without inconveniencing or endangering others.

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    peter.plonker

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Years ago if this had happened you would of picked yourself up, brushed yourself down and had a laugh about it, now its all whinging !! surprise the father hasn't got a claim form out and started thinking of what he could buy with the compensation money !!! keep the kid under control, if you can't do that then don't have them.

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    Footyboy16

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Well wouldn't it be interesting if a dog running free was to be attacked and seriously injured by a stronger dog also running free? How would the owner of the injured dog react? These are animals which are not only a danger to others but also vulnerable from larger animals - so keep them on a lead for our and their protection.

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    littlenewshound

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • I have seen terrible disregard for other dogs and people in Earlham Park by a tiny minority of irresponsible dog owners who can't or won't control their dogs. Some people just don't care and asking a big bouncy dog to get away from a small child, only to be met with a mouthful of abuse, tars all dog owners with the same brush.

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    Anglianjacky

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Yes. K well spotted didn't notice till after I posted and you can't delete .didnt think it worth changing as nobody really reads other peoples comments only their own

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    Reader

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Those blaming the child and prioritising the 'well being' of dogs over a child are misanthropes. I am not a dog hater though, I think they are delicious.

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    peter.plonker

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • What a shame that a few people can't distinguish between misanthropic and anthropomorphic.

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    kajama

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Dogs on the dangerous dogs list have to be muzzled and on a lead in public places ,and some breeds are banned entirely

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    Reader

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • I was under the impression that dogs had to be on a lead and muzzled when in public places, if not they should be for everyone's safety.

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    Derek McDonald

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • While I agree with many of the posts on here that, yes, it was an accident and these things happen, I do think that dogs need to be kept on leads in public places. I adore dogs, but there seem to be a lot more large breeds that have no training allowed to run free everywhere. My elderly dad was badly hurt when a big bull terrier knocked him off his feet while trying to attack his little terrier (on a lead) and this was on a main road. Rather than just let dogs run everywhere being a nuisance, why not train them to 'fetch' and maintain their interest in a game. Just letting them off the lead is lazy ownership.

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    Fluffy Cat

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Peter responsible dog owners have as much right to public space as everyone else. Their taxes help with the upkeep and as the govt is always banging on walking is good exercise and we have to walk with our dogs. Nobody is talking about their , fur babies' which has to be the most ghastly form of misanthropic wierdness I know .

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    Reader

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Peter.Plonker you say these public places are for people and their families. Have you ever considered that dogs are family pets therefore by definition a part of the family?

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    anon

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • He is 'visibly wary' ... well good, that is how he will learn risk and danger and to look after himself.

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    Patrick

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • These comments confirm my suspicion that most dog owners seem to be misanthropic weirdos. The child IS NOT to blame here. If you have taken on the responsibility to own a dog it is up to you to make sure it's well being is looked after without burdening other people, you have no right to the public spaces built specifically for people and their families, and yes for children to run about 'out of control'. Children are not dangerous animals, and most do not leave the mess that their canine counterparts do.

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    peter.plonker

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • I have a dog and when there are people around I keep her on a lead ,sometimes an expanding lead if it is a large enough area. She is a soppy labby who loves people and especially children but I know she is a big strong dog who could knock over a kiddie very easily . So to make sure there are no misunderstands we keep her on a lead .if a park is big enough then perhaps areas could be set aside for them to run free ,but we have to coexist so a little common sense from everyone would help. ,and yes Jamie that percentage do idiot dog owners spoil it but there is no cure for stupid

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    Reader

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Although what happened to Mr Ramirez son is an unfortunate accident, accidents do happen and this was just that an ACCIDENT. If it had been another child that ran into his son would he be calling for all children to be kept on reins? Had a football been kicked and bowled over his son would he be trying to ban ball games?

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    anon

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • Goodness, this is news?? Agree with all the previous comments. there seems to be no tolerance of anything these days. The child shouldn't have been away from it's parent and maybe the dog was a little boisterous. What happened to "Oh well, these things happen". Everyone wants someone to blame these days it's pathetic. And the 2 year old "Keeps mentioning what happened"? The majority of 2 year olds can barely put three words together or are we trying to add pshycological trauma to the (potential) injury claim??

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    Lesa

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • We have in the past taken our dog for a walk in eaither Earlham Park or Eaton Park, but generally keep away from where most people are walking, we have on occasions let our dog off the lead when people or dogs are not about, she is not a dog who would wonder or run off and always keeps close to us, if people or dogs approach we put the lead back on, and we quite often would rather go to somewhere like Thetford forest on an isolated walk where no one is about.

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    Footyboy16

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • As a dog owner, it concerns me that society is becoming increasingly 'anti dog', how long before 'all dogs on leads' is implemented across the board, there are already a lot of restrictions in place & very few areas where dogs can go offlead to enjoy a run around or a game of fetch, these things are important for the wellbeing of a lot of dogs. There are plenty of parks where dogs aren't allowed full stop for people who don't wish to come into contact with them, where their children can play in safety. I wonder how dad would have reacted if a cyclist had knocked his child down, would he be in the paper calling for action against all cyclists? Probably not. Please stop trying to demonise dogs & their owners

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    3dogs

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • As a fellow dog owner myself i find it a difficult subject as 99% of dog owners keep their dogs under control, its the 1% that dont. so no matter what you do that 1% will still do exactly the same so why should the dogs of the responsible owners be penilised for unresponsible owners. I have also lost count of the amount of times i have seen out of control children in the park that will run up to dogs with no parents near by and mostly when the dogs are on lead and minding their own business. this is extremely scary for a dog so no wonder some react, id be the same if a strange person started running towards me.

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    Jamie Read

    Friday, July 11, 2014

  • This child should be kept on a lead...at 2 years old the parent should be close by...clearly not in this case. And at the end of the day, children get bumps all the time from a variety of sources...I dread to think what will happen when it is time for this little boy to learn to ride a bike...brace yourself daddy, he might fall off...who are you going to blame then? Ridiculous bit of journalism as per usual...this is NOT news...

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    merrydancer

    Friday, July 11, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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