Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 14:54 UK

Council could open parks for dogs

Dog playing with ball
Dog owners are fined 80 for not cleaning-up after their pets

A north London council could allow dogs to exercise without leads in some parks from which they are currently banned.

Islington Council sought public opinion on whether to allow dogs into 192 areas, including green spaces.

The month-long consultation, which began in March, received responses from 1,300 people. The council is examining them "with a fine toothcomb".

Some residents are opposing the plan, saying it will lead to an increase in dog litter.

At present play and sports areas in the borough are dog-free zones but different areas in the council have different laws for parks and green spaces.

'Strong' enforcement

Ruth Polling, Liberal Democrat executive member for Leisure and Equalities, said: "This is all about getting the balance right between residents who own dogs and those who want somewhere suitable to relax in our parks and green spaces."

She added: "We'll have a really strong system in place to enforce against the small minority of dog owners who behave, or allow their dogs to behave, in an antisocial way."

But Gillian Lad, who runs a nursery near Lonsdale Square, said enforcing the rules could be challenging.

"I've certainly never seen (enforcement officers) around and they wouldn't be able to police an area constantly," she said.

"We use the square for our young (nursery school) children to have a quick run around the park freely without the fear of not only coming across dogs' mess but dogs running around after them."

Currently the council fines dog owners 80 for failing to clean up after their pet, refusing to put a lead on the dog when asked or allowing it into dog-free areas.

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