In response to Simon Knight’s account, yesterday, of being attacked by an out-of-control dog, Sarah Gould left this long and heartfelt comment on our Facebook page. It reflected so many of our readers’ concerns that we have decided to publish it in full.
I walk both my well behaved dogs here frequently and in general really enjoying my daily walks in such a beautiful place! But I get so frustrated by SOME other dog owners who seem to feel that as soon as their dog is off lead, it gives them the right do do whatever they want!
Some of the beautiful places to walk in our reserve
I too get charged at by dogs from across a large field and often without any sign of an owner! I’m also so sick of being jumped up at by over-excited and uncontrolled dogs absolutely covering me in mud during the wetter days. One owner told me I should be prepared for it and wear old clothes – well I do, but why should I have to get changed into old clothes if I want to just pop out for a dog walk? Especially when I’ve taken the time and effort to train my dog to not jump up at people.
Well behaved, leashed dogs with their owners in the reserve.
In the warmer months, I get badly scratched legs from dogs jumping up at me, sometimes even drawing blood. This happened just recently. The common phrase from the owners is “Oh, it’s okay he always does that.”
Well, no! It’s not ok and if you know your dog jumps up at people put them on a lead when you see someone approaching until you can train your dog NOT to jump up. It’s very simple training, there’s lots of on-line tutorials if you’re not sure how to do it.
I also get loads of other dog walkers feeding my dogs without asking even when I ask them not to. It might not seem like much but when you bump into 10 to 15 different people every day on a walk and they all think it’s OK to feed my dogs then it becomes a big problem.
Should professional dog walkers let their charges off-lead in the reserve?
I spoke with a professional dog walker after she let eight dogs off their leads and they all went in different directions and pooped. I asked her if she was going to pick the poop up and she said it was impossible to find each individual one to pick up. Over the course of a week, one dog walker with that many dogs, leaving all their poop, creates a huge amount of mess everywhere. I did suggest that maybe she kept them all on-lead until they had pooped so that she could pick up after them and then let them off the lead. She wasn’t very happy about that suggestion.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner!
Thank you Sarah. You have expressed what a lot of park-users have told us: out-of-control, off-leash dogs can hurt and frighten both visitors and wildlife. We will make sure that all your comments and messages reach the county’s Countryside Team.
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