There is a proposal for the AGM that FOSAP should ask the Council to require all dogs to be kept on leads.
I would suggest that seems quite a major proposal which should really be discussed fully, rather than just pushed onto the AGM agenda at the last minute.
I also think that all the users of the park should be informed of this proposal before FOSAP makes such a major decision. 
There is otherwise the risk that FOSAP is perceived as a small group who just want the park run for their own benefit and enjoyment, rather than for the benefit of the community at large.

I would note that dogs being kept on leads would not resolve the poo problem: dogs on leads regularly poo outside my house, and the owners at the end of the lead just walk on once they're done.

There is also a more fundamental question of who/what the park is for?  Some people find their enjoyment spoilt by dogs.  Others can find the presence of screaming children irritating, or be intimated teenagers messing around.  Maybe we need to recognise that it is a *public* space, and sometimes other members of the public use it for purposes that we don't like.   (The only exception to this would obviously be bongo players, who should be forcibly removed)

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I totally agree Toby. It is the irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs poo without clearing it up who would almost certainly not keep their dogs on leads anyway. As would a lot of the responsible dog owners which could cause a lot of unpleasantness. How are you planning that this should be enforced Martin?
There will always be people who are inconsiderate be it dog poo, noise, litter.. All the dog owners I know love and appreciate the park and are very conscientious.
Annie
I don't think keeping dogs on leads is a good idea. There are a lot more irritating things in the park than dogs.
As a new resident on the borders of St Andrews Park and a new member of Friends of St Andrews Park, I am saddened to see the anti-dog motion on the agenda. I cannot help but think that the people who have proposed it do not understand what they are doing.

St Andrews Park is much more than the sum of its beautiful landscape and numerous amenities. What makes our park so special is the community of people who use it. Human tolerance, give and take, and open good will between diverse groups and individuals are on display out there in our park every day of the year. And that spirit is St Andrews Park’s most valuable asset. The anti-dog motion puts it at risk. Let me explain why.

The danger inherent in any self-constituted organization concerned with a public amenity, including ones formed with the noblest of intentions, is that it may come to be used as an instrument by which some people seek control of the use of that amenity to fit their particular desires and predilections rather than the diverse ones of the community. They may single out one of more groups of users for which they have no sympathy, and create and spread negative stereotypes of them with the intention of getting them excluded. In a short time the whole organization can become infected with this spirit of exclusion and intolerance.

Among most categories of the park’s users there are minorities who break the park’s community spirit -- people who bring vicious dogs, joggers who knock people down, people who play amplified music, picnickers who litter, ball players who take over large areas, rampaging teenagers, dog-owners who do not clean up, etc. – and who should be disciplined as individuals. Only last week I saw a jogger recklessly knock a walker to the ground, last winter I saw several sledges run people down, and on two occasions I have been struck by wayward footballs. But I would be in the wrong, very wrong, if I called for a ban on joggers or on children sledging or on young men playing football.

The window beside the desk at which I work most days overlooks the park. The most beautiful thing that I see, even more beautiful than the trees coming into leaf, is the humanity that comes there to enjoy being alive in their diverse and often silly ways. These include over a hundred people I see daily coming with their dogs, over eighty percent of whom, probably ninety, let them off the lead. When they throw balls for their dogs to fetch they are not being irresponsible. To the contrary, I see faces, and not just the dog-owners’, but bystanders’, children especially, light up with pleasure at seeing the animals sprint and their visible joy in doing so.

In the course of a week hundreds of people take pleasure in giving their dogs free exercise in the park and many hundreds more take pleasure in their presence. To take this pleasure from the world would be both wrong and dangerously harmful to the community spirit of St Andrews Park. I hope after further thought that the motion that threatens this will be withdrawn.
I have added a 'poll' to the home page of the park website. It is not run by MORI so may not stand up to scrutiny, but it may show us how some people feel.
I have just been talking to concerned dog-owning neighbours who will be coming to the AGM - at the very least, I feel a public meeting would need to be called before such a 'dogs on leads' policy is adopted.
I am a dog owner who dosnt drive so i use the park to walk my dog every day it would really be problem for us if she had to be on the lead all the time...... However I believe there is a happy happy solution to this problem!!!!!! How about between the months of may & sept between the hrs of 11am & 5pm weekends & school holidays dogs are kept on leads. The problem people & dogs appear every spring like clockwork with the good weather have BBQs & get drunk in the park with the rest of the festival vibe, they are mostly not local & they are the ones with the big beefy dogs with no collars scaring small children & my dog! etc etc.... the rest of us st andrews lot who love our dogs & the park wouldn't walk our dogs in the blazing midday heat so an on the lead rule in for these hrs during these months wouldn't affect us but may put this lot off from bringing there dogs which would be good for everyone. The other idea is to set up a 'four legged friend of st andrews park' scheme it would be voluntary but responsible dog owners & park lovers could sign up & agree to a list of things like: picking up our dogs poo, our dogs wear collars, they are chipped, & they are safe with people & kids etc. if we join our dog will wear a little bright yellow tag on its collar to show its affiliation & love of st andrews park and bingo peace & harmony will reign once again....... how about it folks???? Finally for all dog dislikers out there us dog owners really are the eyes & ears of the park clearing up the bbqs at 7am in the morning in the summer & keeping the park from being creepy & deserted in the winter. If we all were forced to go elsewhere to walk our dogs the park may become more appealing for drug use & drinking especially in the quieter times.
Clauds
To the members of St.Andrews park,

Another pen pushing exercise. Surely the members should be concerning themselves with other problems associated with park. As an individual who has been approached in the park, and been asked for his phone and wallet by muggers, on two separate occasions, and also an individual who witnesses people openly smoking drugs in the park, I believe the proposal is extremely frivolous and members and friends of St.andrews park should look to tackle more serious issues.

If individuals want to solve the issue of dog mess, then increase fines and give the public the opportunity to report dog walkers who do not clean up. Name and shame!

Regards
Regards.
i am a local resident and a dog owner and wish to add my support to the views of the previous correspondents.

Yet again the few are going to spoil the enjoyment of the many.

All the regular Dog owners i know scoop and would not let their dogs off the lead when the park is in full swing. However when at 6.45 am and the park is deserted apart from a few joggers and the odd worker trudging down to the Gloucester Rd, are we really expected to keep our dogs on a lead. We seem as a society to have a problem with unfit, overweight people, are we now going to do the same to our dogs.

Using Edwards figures if there are 100 regular dog walkers how many more car journeys are we going to introduce if we have to travel further afield to properly exercise our dogs?

As responsible dog owners we already have a legal duty to keep our dogs "under proper control" and not to foul. I cant see if these are enforced what other concerns the proposer has. Is it the fact that these and numerous other laws ( Littering, Noise etc) are not, or not seen to be enforced in the park at present.

Could not agree more about the bongo players though !!!
This motion has now been withdrawn.

However, please do still come to the meeting: it's important that we all work together to make St Andrews Park the best park it can be for all its users.
Common sense has prevailed...........I hope that all dog owners who have joined this website will help us to protect
St Andrews Park. The Truth of the Matter is that Martin put forward this Motion in good faith & he has withdrawn it in
good Faith. He has contributed much to FOSAP & continues to do so.
FOSAP has achieved much in its 3 years of existence & the fabric of the Park has been transformed. FOSAP is not a
"self serving" group of individuals with their own Agenda The Agenda is the wellbeing of the Park & FOSAP is open to all.

THe Park was plastered with Graffiti everywhere before FOSAP was formed & was a Mess.

It has now been restored to its previous splendour. These things don't happen by accident they take Email after Email
& telephone call after telephone call & all of the convenors on FOSAP work hard at their own discipline............

& the results are there for all to see & enjoy...........

St Andrews Park is a haven in an "Ugly World"...........let's ALL keep it that way.

Doug
Dear members of FOSAP

I have decided that in the best interests of the park and all its users to withdraw the motion to keep dogs on leads. I feel it has become very divisive over the last few days and will only polarise the park community which is the last thing I want to happen. I would like to work with all park users to improve facilities in the park and feel this will be best achieved by avoiding a conflict of this type.

I hope the energetic debate which has taken place over the last few days by email and on the website will continue in a friendly, reasoned and respectful manner. A number of excellent suggestions have been made to help improve the situation. I hope all our new members who have joined FOSAP in the last few days to vote on the motion will stay with us in trying to make the park a better place for all in every possible way.

best wishes,


martin

Martin Weitz
Perhaps we could have a debate instead on noise, litter & barbeques? The park has been a joy this afternoon. Small groups of people enjoying the sun, kids on scooters & skateboards, a few circus people, dog walkers, tea & cakes in the cafe. Unlike yesterday (monday) evening and over the weekend, a heaving mass of people with barbeques, loud music, shouting & swearing, which spoils everyone else's enjoyment of the park, and next morning the usual litter.

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