Dog days

What’s brown and sticky and left by a dog? A stick.

Or worse. Sadly the brown sticky stuff left by dogs on Islington’s pavements is no fun.

Dog dirt is not the nicest thing to talk about; but residents raise the issue with me time and time again… Dogs may be man’s best friend, but irresponsible dog ownership is bad news for everyone in our area. So I’m glad that Lib Dem-run Islington Council is planning new measures to tackle irresponsible dog owners, make our streets and estates cleaner, and keep our parks and play areas safe. The Council is proposing to fine owners who don’t clean up after their dogs or who fail to keep them under control. And they are planning to exclude dogs from some sports and play areas. There is a detailed list of the sites available on the Council website (the consultation period ends on Friday, 11 April).

I’m pleased to see it includes both housing estates and public parks. Bureaucrats may recognise the distinction; dogs do not….

3 Comments »

  1. Bridget

    From the council’s page on Responsible Dog Ownership it appears that one of the main effects of the proposed changes will include that dog owners will be allowed freely (not on a lead) to run their dogs in all public spaces shared with children unless: 1. an authorised staff officer expressly requires the dog owner to put the dog on a lead, or 2. the dog is in one of the very few designated dog exclusion areas.

    Given that attacks by dogs on children have increased by over 100% in London (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7264620.stm), this strikes me as a dangerous development.

    I have witnessed too many attacks by dogs on children in Islington under the current regime where dog owners are already required to put dogs on leads in many of Islington’s green spaces. The new regime will make matters worse and result in more injuries to children or, god forbid, children’s deaths.

    On a lesser note it would also be nice if there were a couple of parks in the borough where you could walk and play without the ubiquitous dog mess.

    Surely the answer is to require that dogs be kept on leads in all areas that they share with children, to provide some entirely dog free parks so that children can run about without regularly stepping in dog mess e.g. Thornhill Square and to also provide some parks where dogs are allowed to run around without leads e.g. the park between Hemingford Road and Matilda Street.

    Kind regards

    Stuart

  2. bridgetfox said

    Hello Stuart

    Thank you for your comments, I agree that we need to provide safe spaces where children can run free and ditto for dogs, and that the two are separate.

    There is a particular issue about Islington’s historic squares which don’t include play areas, but where people like to relax with their families; should dogs be allowed there at all and if so on what terms? The historic squares are the area where residents have raised most concern with me and where close attention needs to be given to local views.

    There are many pensioners with small well-behaved companion dogs who go to the nearest square to walk their dogs. I think it would be harsh to exclude them entirely from squares which are not play areas. They are clearly a different case to the aggressive dogs (and even more aggressive owners) which are a frightening presence in some parks. But people’s feelings on this is exactly what the consultation should draw out.

    I’m glad the Council has broached this difficult issue, because the status quo, with dog dirt and dog incidents rising, has become unacceptable. I don’t envy them the job of getting the right balance in the results. I’m sure the different approach to different spaces that you advocate will be part of the solution.

  3. Bridget

    Despite the consultation none of the suggestions that i and many others made have been actioned by the Council. The original proposal has remained unaltered. As matters now stand the aggressive dogs that you mention will be allowed to acceess most parks and squares in Islington not on any lead, children will be injured and parents will be increasingly reluctant to take their children to parks in islington. This is a radical change from the situation before this change where dogs were required to be on leads in many parks/open spaces in Islington. In those parks dogs will effectively be allowed to roam free. Shame on the poeple who brought this about.

    Stuart

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