Council consultation sparks outrage amongst Hackney’s dog owners

Dog owners are up in arms they will be penalised through “draconian measures” Hackney Council wants to impose to tackle dangerous dogs.

The council is currently consulting whether to introduce Dog Control Orders, including a ‘dog exclusion’ order which prevents dogs entering certain areas like children’s playgrounds and sports pitches, and a ‘dogs on leads when requested order.’

Additionally the council claim a ‘dogs on leads’ order, would prevent owners exercising dogs off-lead in areas like roads, towpaths, car parks, communal estate areas, churchyards and small public parks.

But many dog owners expressed concern at a pubic meeting in Stoke Newington Town Hall last Thursday the new by-laws would threaten their dog-walking community.

Owners who currently make sure their pets get the minimum one hour daily off-lead exercise Abney Park Cemetery - that many rescue centres stipulate is necessary - would be forced to travel further afield.

Pamela Bachu, dog walker and local solicitor, pointed out that the Road Traffic Act of 1988 already outlaws dogs off leads on roads.

“If you don’t know that your whole consultation must be flawed,” she said.

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“If you enforced existing laws and invested in improving the dog warden service which is non existent, we wouldn’t have to impose draconian laws on responsible dog owners.

“At the moment you have laws on picking up poo, because the small minority don’t do it, but nobody enforces it.

Others said Abney Park would be less safe without dog walkers.

“In winter we’re the only people there, in Shoreditch they banned dogs and the park was just full of junkies in winter,” said Henry Walker.

“I understand about playgrounds and football pitches, but I think in some areas there are too many restrictions and I would like to see better policing as there’s none of that in that cemetery.”

“My evidence on an attempted rape in Abney Park helped convict a serial rapist,” added another woman.

Cllr Sophie Linden, acting as Deputy Mayor, said the council was trying to be as fair as they could but that residents and park users had expressed concern about dogs off their leads, aggressive dogs and dogs entering children’s play areas.

To view the consultation which runs until August 14 visit