Dog leash bylaw is necessary for everyone
Fears that the latest bylaw to be introduced in the Fingal local authority area will 'drive dog-walking underground' were expressed at a large protest in Malahide in recent days.
A new bylaw has been passed to compel dog owners to keep their four-legged friends on leashes within designated hours.
I think that the change has opened up a good debate and that there has to be some middle ground here.
The notion that dogs should be let roam free in public parks is just not sensible and when rules like this are made, they have to try and cater for the majority.
Devoted dog owners, sometimes find it hard to understand how other people can be nervous of dogs, particularly larger breeds and that even if they 'never bite', they can be intimidating when they run towards you or jump up in excitement.
Many dog owners are responsible and know how to correctly supervise their pet in public, but many others do not, and these are the people whom the bylaw aims to target.
The issue of applying the same rules to those with a disability, I think could be reviewed.
Many have outlined that holding a dog on a leash, perhaps at the same times as a walking stick, could be problematic and one parent also highlighted that their child who has special needs leans on their dog for support.
I doubt that any warden with a bit of cop on would fine a person in these circumstances.
There has to be a bit of give an take in certain cases, but for large dogs running around unsupervised, there has to be some sort of rules in place.
The other issue that dogs off leash creates is fouling. If a number of dogs are running all over the place, who is to say which one fouled where and who is responsible for it?
Owners have no way of knowing, and therefore there are bound to be incidents where the required clean up does not take place.
Fouling is a problem all over the country both on streets and in parks and detection rates are notoriously low.
The leash-rule is only in force between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. so there is scope for those who wish to walk their dogs off leashes to do so if they wish.