Running round the park this morning I was attacked by a mad dog. The owner did nothing apart from call the dog to come to her which it completely ignored. When it had reared up on me for the third or fourth time I told the dog owner to go up to her dog and put the lead on. But she did nothing apart from calling it again - to no effect whatsover. Why are some dog owners so reluctant to control their dogs after it has attacked a member of the public?

The owner of this barking animal made no attempt to approach her dog and put the lead on.  I told her this was out of order and she needed to control her dog. But this all fell on deaf ears.  Now  admittedly this does not happen very often - but it does happen  now and then - especially to runners. 

Isn't it high time prominent and permanent signs were put up all over the park which reminded dog owners to take responsibility for their dog and to ensure that if their dogs poo on the grass  the mess is removed or face a financial penalty. Dog poo, of course, is another daily hazard for runners and kids all over the park. There's not a day when I dont see some fresh deposits on the grass left by some irresponsible dog owner.  

BCC has in the past said it would do this - ie put up signs aimed at dog owners  - but they have never kept their promise. This issue has been overlooked and forgotten for too long.  How about some action here. 

 

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I hope you are alright Martin I hope you will report this to the Police if you can identify the miscreant.............

Happy New Year,

Doug

I didnt suffer any injury at all - just felt a bit intimidated and it makes you a bit wary of running round the park, but I was back again doing my 3 circuits this morning in the glorious weather. 

3 circuits!!!!!...............You are superfit !!  No wonder you have so much energy for FOSAP !!

Congratulations  Doug

Can I suggest that you contact Miles Harris of BCC Parks Dept, Martin, to ask about the installation of prominent and permanent signs.  It's a very good idea and I feel sure that he would be helpful, especially if mention was made of our Green Flag status.  Signs would also help people like you when complaining to an offending dog owner.  Good luck!

I have just emailed this to bishopstonvoice, having read the letter in the Jan 15 issue:

Recent correspondence on dogs in St Andrews park has presented different views.  I am moved to add my comment.

I have walked through the park daily for many years, on occasion with dogs in my control, and have often seen dog and dog owner behaviour that bears out Martin Weitz’s view.

Dog walkers are a friendly bunch, and many of them enjoy a chat with others as they walk around.  Too often, though, this means that they do not keep an eye on their dogs:  I have on many occasions had to draw a dog owner’s attention to the fact that their dog, sometimes fifty yards away, has left an unobserved deposit.

I have on a number of occasions had to ask people to remove their dog from the dog-free area, including the play area and the swimming pool; the last time just a few days  ago when a large dog was gambolling freely there while the oblivious owner walked on, chatting to others.

I have seen dog faeces in the children’s area on occasion, and many times in the rest of the park.  Recently, I saw a woman cover a dog deposit just outside the gate to the play area with a leaf – because, as she told me, it was ‘too runny to pick up’.  When I reminded her that small children just love to kick fallen leaves about, she merely shrugged.

I often – especially at this time of year – see dogs there in the dark, when it is impossible to see what they are doing, and have seen people release their dog into the park and stand at the gate waiting for it to return.  I have even seen that in the dog-free area.

My own son, when small, was terrified by a boisterous large dog which stood within two feet of him, barking fiercely at his face, clearly excited by the fact that he was on a sled.  The owners thought it was funny – I did not, neither did my son.

The fact that ‘most’ dog owners are responsible will never overcome the fact that too many are not.  I shudder when I see small children rolling on the grass, or running barefoot: careful as I am, I have had dog faeces on my soles on occasion.

My own recommendation would be to greatly increase the size of the dog-free area, but even then there is no protection against thoughtless or careless owners.

Dr Mary Welsh trails a few red herrings when she suggests that because we cannot control cats we shouldn’t have to control dogs, or that perhaps children should be on leads, or that dogs are running exuberantly, not wildly. To some observers, seeing a dog charge about with no-one near to control it, or indeed with an owner shrieking fruitlessly for it to return, ‘wild’ is a reasonable term to use. She also manages to suggest that people frightened by dogs somehow only have themselves to blame, as they ‘misinterpret their behaviour’!   

When I see people throwing balls or sticks so that their dog runs through the rose bushes, I am saddened at the vandalism, and amazed at the stupidity.  A rose thorn in the eye is not pleasant, surely.

I have to conclude that there is more than enough bad dog and dog owner behaviour to warrant concern, and action.

 

Bill Singleton

St Andrews resident and FOSAP member.

Dear Bill,

Thank you very much for sending your excellent letter to the Bishopston Voice and copying it here.  I was beginning to think I was the only person in St Andrews who had seen dogs out of control  in the park and was willing to air their opinion. 

It is particularly pertinent to read your comments in view of the fact that you say you have " walked  through the park daily for many years, on occasion with dogs in my control, and have often seen dog and dog owner behaviour that bears out my view".  Clearly, no one can accuse you of disliking dogs.

Since writing my letter to Bishopston Voice a number of other people have come up to me and told me they totally agree with what I wrote. I hope now that more people will come forward like you and air their views.

As you say, it is vital that this issue is addressed, in a rational, calm and level-headed manner, for the sake of the health and safety of local children, and adults too, who like to use the park without fear of being attacked or ingesting dog waste. 

with best wishes for the New Year and 2015.

Martin

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