Richmond Council are proposing to extend existing dog control orders and restrict the number of dogs that can be walked on public land to four. This is with a view to tackle irresponsible dog walkers who use council land – including parks and open spaces (this does not affect Bushy and Richmond Royal Parks).
This is still at a consultation stage and you can register your views on this issue by emailing the Head of Parks at trees@firstname.lastname@example.org – the deadline for feedback is 12th April 2012.
Notices have been posted in council-owned park areas
Already a hotly debated topic, concerns have been raised that professional dog walking companies visit the borough, sometimes walking up to 15 dogs at a time, because nearby boroughs already have such limits in place. Specific issues include fouling and generally keeping dogs under control in these areas.
Councillor Virginia Morris: “Dog owners are important users of our parks and Richmond Council promotes and encourages responsible dog ownership. Most owners are conscientious; however, a small minority are not and this spoils the enjoyment of our open spaces and parks for others.”
Opponents to this new rule argue that dog owners that currently have more than four dogs may be forced to walk their dogs separately, find alternative dog walking areas or even be forced to re-home some dogs.
Reputable dog walking companies in the borough will also be hit by this ruling – potentially losing business and driving up their charges if they cannot walk as many dogs simultaneously. It has also been noted that this ruling would affect responsible as well as irresponsible dog owners/walkers equally.
There is an online petition to limit the maximum instead to six, that has already received over 600 signatures against this proposal. If 1,000 are collected then the petition can be presented at a council meeting and the ruling can be debated further.
[Update 06/04/2012] Separately, the government are also planning to clean-up our Royal Parks through on-the-spot penalties for littering, failing to clear up after dogs. The new laws are expected to start in July.