Video: Should dogs be reined in or let off the lead in our parks and spaces?

Dog walkers at Catton Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Dog walkers at Catton Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
6:30 AM

They are supposed to be man’s best friend, but not everyone is smitten with dogs.

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And it seems that the region’s parks and public spaces are increasingly becoming a battleground between dog-lovers - and their four-legged friends - and those who would prefer the animals kept on leads, or banned altogether.

On Monday night, hundreds of people attended a meeting of Old Catton Parish Council, where members admitted - as trustees of Catton Park - that they were considering extending a dog-free zone in the area. The council pledged to continue to allow the animals - but said a survey had shown there could be a need for an extension.

Yesterday, the Kennel Club weighed in on the issue, warning that the region should not lose its reputation as a dog-friendly area.

A spokesman said: “Norfolk and north Suffolk are generally very dog-friendly, with lots of dog owners choosing to visit the area for holidays with their pets so it would be a great shame if dog bans or restrictions made it difficult for visitors or locals to exercise their dogs properly.

“We hope that Old Catton Parish Council consult fully with local people and groups to make a decision that would benefit everyone fairly and does not penalise responsible dog owners.”

It is a scenario being repeated across the region, and beyond, with some calling for certain public areas to be made dog free, or the animals forced to wear leads - in order to combat problems of dog fouling and nuisance animals.

Dog owners, on the other hand, are organising themselves - often aided by the Kennel Club - to head off restrictions. Last year, a proposal to ban dogs from a playing field in Belton, near Great Yarmouth, was scrapped after hundreds of people signed a petition opposing the plan. Even among dog owners, there is no agreement, with many blaming the problem on irresponsible owners. This week Beryl Brown told how she feared for the life of her 14-year-old Jack Russell cross after it was bitten by a dog which was not on a lead in the Jenny Lind Park in Norwich.

Other owners have since said they feel unable to walk their pets in Waterloo Park. Despite owners being asked to keep dogs on leads at this location, some owners flout the rules and dog attacks have left walkers afraid for themselves and their animals.

Elsewhere in Norwich, dogs are welcome in most parks and open spaces as long as they are under control. In some parks, they are only allowed on leads but they banned entirely from Wensum or St Clement’s Parks. The local council says it is attempting to take action, to head off problems, by updating signage in parks and neighbourhood officers patrol areas in a bid to ensure dogs are being kept under control.

11 comments

  • KP, dogs are animals that have been domesticated and can always revert to type. Because of this no dog is totally trustworthy. If you believe otherwise you are misguided.

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    la barbe

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Michael, you are typical of the people I talked about in my comment, you have tunnel vision, take the blinkers off and look at the real world, those people you mention, in my opinion would take no notice laws to protect wildlife etc they would probably still carry on doing what they do because they enjoy in some crazy way. Me I like to take my dog for a run, keep him well exersized, keep his weight under control and generally look after him because he's me mate, you on the other hand wish to spoil that through a few mindless people who shouldn't own a dog. Your opinion is so typical of the british mentality, make everyone pay for the few idiots who have no regard for anything else other than themselves, I would rigorously oppose any law that enforces compulsary dog on leads

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    KP

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • There have been many comments on this story and yesterday's item about how dog owners actually enjoy watching their dogs running through nature reserves chasing protected birds and other animals, plus there have been many stories recently of dog attacks on children and guide dogs, high time that that people were made to keep their dogs on a short lead and under control

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    michaelfane

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • I totally disagree, not all dogs are dangerous, and providing your dog is under control as mine is I see no harm in let him off the lead to have a run, he loves the exersize especially on the beach, he's a border collie and loves people. If readers want to make the public places safer why don't we make parents of unruley youngsters put there kids on a lead, that would certainly make places safer with less vandalism. I wish people would look at the wider picture before demandingcampaigning for all dogs to be made to be kept on a lead, it is the irrespondsible owners who spoil it for all dog owners, lets tagget them. Just one more thing before I go, my dog was tied up outside a charity shop whilst I was shopping two youngsters were about to set about my dog, it was only by the intervention of a member of the public that stopped this that prevented my dog getting a good kicking. I reitterate punish those who committ crime, don't introduce laws that penalize who abide by it.

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    KP

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • ALL dogs are potentially dangerous and should be kept on a lead in public places. Some owners are also irresponsible and do not have control of their dogs in public (or in private for that matter) so all dogs should be compulsorily micro chipped so that owners can be identified and traced.

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    la barbe

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Are all the members of the Parish Council trustees?Should the Charities Commission be asked what powers the trustees have and what the stated objects are of the Trust before any further costs are incurred on experts? £18,000 is a lot of money, if consultation is needed there must be cheaper ways.

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    bedoomed

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • peter waller

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Why spend money to extend a dog free area when the current dog free area goes virtually unused? That got to be the most stupid idea ever. There has already been vast amounts of money wasted on this park, take Hayman Lodge for example and a footpath that doesn't join up. You couldn't make it up could you?

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    Catton Man

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • The Kennel Club defending dog walking spaces is like zoo owners defending caged animals-the Kennel Club represents dog breeders, many of whom sell puppies, so of course they want dog ownership to be free of responsibilities. Yes dogs should be confined to specific areas if they are off the lead, and these should be clearly designated.In all other places , urban areas, village pavements and all public rights of way, they should be on a lead-even if it is a very long lead, they should always be in direct control. If a potential dog owner does not have a place where they can legitimately walk a dog off the lead or if they are not fit enough to walk the dog as far as it needs on the lead, then they should not own one. There are plenty of us who have to keep small dogs and grandchildren on leads or close at heel because of the irresponsible who let their ( usually) large dogs roam free. We need dog licences and a wider restriction on breed types-I see a local here has an Akita-why would anyone want a Japanese guard dog in a Norfolk village. Or an Alaskan sled dog in a Norfolk town come to that.Dog owners can be irrational beings.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • High time dogs were banned from parks and open spaces, there have been far to many attacks on children, guide dogs and protected wildlife, time for dog owners to realise that not everyone enjoys having a large aggressive dog jump up at them, plus there is far to much dog mess everywhere

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    blister

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • I was at this meeting, the extension suggestion came from an attendee not the survey. The results of this were vague, with only the figures against dogs shared. When asked the pro dogs results these were conveniently not to hand. I have used this park for 10 years with my dogs and children. Catton Park is a nature Park, It changes with the seasons, has protected wild flowers so the grass cannot be cut until mid summer so the only place to play games is the dog free zone it is not a park for swings etc. This type of park is opposite and dogs are not allowed. The dog free a section at Catton Park is hopefully going to be extended but that is if the Trust can afford to do so. Yet the said trust can spend £18k on a consultancy to survey the local people. 99% of the room had not been contacted by letter or leaflet. They had simply left leaflets in Doctors surgeries. Does this sound a fair survey or a productive way to contact the local area. It is the minority that spoil it for he majority again. In our local area we now only have Catton Park where dogs are allowed to run as Lavare Park has now been purchased by Old Catton Football Club and they are now in the process of fencing the field off. Leaving a small walkway around the perimeter that is not to be maintained. I do not know the answer to the love doghate dog debate on parks. But we all pay our council taxes so we should all be able to use these areas. Maybe compulsory affordable dog training is an answer. To ensure all dogs are trained. Bring back the dog licence so dog owners can be traced.

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    blonde

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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

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