Wednesday 19 June 2019

Council barking up the wrong tree with dog bye-laws

Fingal D.O.G. (Fingal Dog Owners Group) held a protest outside Fingal County Council offices recently against newly-adopted bye-laws restricting dogs to designated off-leash areas of public parks.

Stating that its members were 'outraged' at the imposition of Fingal County Council's Parks and Open Spaces By-Laws, the group said they are 'restrictive & discriminatory, in turn causing great stress to law-abiding citizens of Fingal.'

A D.O.G. spokesperson said: 'Fingal D.O.G was formed in opposition to the newly adopted bye-law restricting dogs to very tiny designated off leash areas of public parks.'

They added: 'Given that dog walkers are the second largest category of public park users, Fingal D.O.G. believes the laws were made in an unjust fashion, without first seeking input from dog behaviourists, trainers and dog welfare organisations.'

The group claimed the new bye-laws were 'unfair to dogs and their owners', as they 'prevented owners from providing adequate exercise for their dogs', while 'alienating them on a social level' from other park users.

They said the bye-laws confined dogs to an 'extremely small enclosed space', which amounted to '1.4% of total park space.'

According to the group, dog parks have been 'proven by specialists' to be a dangerous environment for both owners and dogs.

They said they had received 'additional messages of support' from the ISPCA and 'a number of other animal welfare experts', including 'leading veterinarian and TV personality Pete Wedderburn', as well as coverage on Ireland AM and Newstalk FM.

They said: 'A number of our members with mobility issues have expressed particular concerns about the suitability and accessibility of the proposed designated off-leash areas.

'We want total reversal of the new bye-law to the old bye-law and stronger enforcement by the council with an emphasis on good dog ownership.'

The council has defended both the size of the new off-leash areas in regional parks and the need for separate off-leash areas to 'balance' the needs of park users.

The local authority has expressed a willingness to meet with the Fingal D.O.G. group on the issue.

Fingal Independent