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Backlash on dog access


A LONDON Council is under fire after it announced plans that dogs are set to be allowed into park areas where they have previously been banned – leading to complaints from parents that their children are being put at risk.

Islington Council is currently reviewing plans to deal with unruly pets by fining their owners, but councillors were this week accused of hiding plans to also open up dog-free areas in the borough’s parks.

Under the council proposals, dog-free areas would be opened up to dogs on the condition that their owners clean up after them and they are leashed when asked by an officer.

Dog owner Kay Leedham-Green, of Waterloo Terrace, Angel, said: ‘This is a massive change of use and they have a duty to consult on it. My neighbours who read the consultation did not realise our park was going to be open to dogs. It’s sheer lazy legislation. They need to get off their backsides, walk round and make a list of where dogs are banned.’

Labour councillor Wally Burgess, who chaired a council committee which looked into the plans, said: ‘It didn’t quite sink in that there would be more freedom for dogs. If they are extending the areas and not saying where they are and people can’t vote on a list, that’s a failing. ‘They won’t get the impact unless they can see what’s currently there.’

Islington’s Liberal Democrat deputy council leader Terry Stacy said: ‘Nothing has been decided yet and we want people to let us know their thoughts.

‘The previous bits and pieces of legislation and byelaws that applied to dogs didn’t necessarily follow any form of logic and are a bit of a mess and need to be sorted. When considering proposals to cover the whole borough we think it’s important to apply the same logic to all sites.’
He added: ‘With these Dog Control Orders we have the chance to come up with some sensible regulations that will benefit everyone, and strike the right balance between people who own dogs and those who don’t.’

The consultation on the proposals ends on April 11.

For details, visit www.islington.gov.uk/dogs