Bushy and Richmond Parks – Dog Leads Compulsory

Royal Parks have announced that dog leads will be compulsory in Bushy and Richmond Parks for the next 3 months.

From Tuesday 4 May to Monday 2 August, there is a ban on off-lead dogs to help keep the vulnerable deer safe during the May to June birthing season. It is estimated that over 300 deer will be born in these parks during this time.

Royal Parks asks that “all visitors to give female deer respect, privacy and space, and not to go in search of young deer. Under no circumstance is a newborn deer to be picked up, and if visitors see one on its own, they should rest assured that its mother will be grazing nearby.”

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: “During the deer birthing season, we strongly advise that dogs are not walked in either Richmond or Bushy Parks but, if this is not possible, dogs must be on leads in all areas of the parks.

“Female deer are afraid of dogs harming their young. Concern for their newborn means they may act defensively towards dogs – they have been known to give chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively. Dog walkers must remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park. As a dog owner myself, I know this can be frustrating, but it really is for the safety of both deer and dogs. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and we thank all our visitors for their support with these measures.”

Advice to dog walkers:

  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times, and in all areas of the parks
  • Avoid the areas shaded in orange on the maps. These are typically the main areas of bracken and long grass where newborn deer could be concealed, so it’s wise to plan your walking route in advance.
  • If a deer charges, let the dog off the lead so the dog can run away.
  • Consider walking your dog elsewhere.

Advice to all visitors:

  • Give deer plenty of space. Always keep 50 metres away
  • Avoid deer nursery areas where possible. Give female deer privacy and respect.
  • Never touch a newborn deer under any circumstances, even if it’s on its own. It is not abandoned, and its mother will be grazing nearby.

To report an injury to a person, dog or deer, please contact:

Richmond Park: 0300 061 2200 or email richmond@royalparks.org.uk

Bushy Park 0300 061 2250 or email bushy@royalparks.org.uk

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