Park users slated over dog control

By Laura Payne 22/03 Updated: 22/03 12:27

Buy photos » Signs in Shirley Park instruct owners to clean up after their dogs. 12.012.044.sol.jg1

A GRANDFATHER has hit out at dog walkers who let their pets run wild in the park and do not pick up the mess.

The pensioner, who does not want to be named, said he was concerned about the number of dogs not on a lead when walking through Shirley Park with his 14-month-old grandson.

He said on one occasion a man was walking through the park with five dogs, none of who were on a lead, which posed a risk to his grandson and other children playing there.

He told the Observer: "They should not be left to bound around when there are children playing in the park.

"You do not know whether they are friendly or not and they could be a danger to the youngsters."

And he was also disgusted by the number of dog owners who do not clean up after their animals.

He said: "We have trodden on the mess when we have been out pushing my grandson in the pushchair and have been worried about him as he starts walking. It's horrible to have this mess in a place where children are playing."

The 74-year-old has suggested a secure area could be created for dog walkers to exercise their pets away from children playing in the park.

"There should be a separate section for dogs which is fenced off and secured with gates. Then the dogs can be exercised and we won't have to worry about them near the children," he said.

But the council said this is not something they would currently consider.

Coun Diana Holl-Allen, the council's spokeswoman for safer communities, said dog bins are provided in all parks and are cleaned regularly.

And Shirley Park is currently cleaned daily while the council also carries out spot checks and issues fixed penalty notices to people who do not clean up after their dog.

Coun Holl-Allen said: "With the redevelopment of Shirley park we will be reviewing items such as dog bins, signage and how often we clean.

"The majority of our younger children's play areas are fenced off to prevent dogs from accessing, particularly within parks that tend to have high numbers of dog walkers.

"However, it's important that our parks are used for a multitude of activities and that park users have respect and understanding for each other."

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