8th June 2007
This information, from a new residents' group called HOWL, is circulated to you by the Peckham Residents' Network
see the online petition
Southwark dog lovers have formed a lobby group called HOWL (Hounds Off lead Welfare Lobby) to persuade Southwark Council to step back from imposing a blanket policy that will condemn all dogs in the borough, regardless of size or temperament, to live the rest of their lives attached to a lead. Virtually nobody in the borough, least of all the people who walk their dogs in the parks every day, had any idea that this was coming over the horizon. The first we knew about it was when new signs popped up all over our parks stating that all dogs had to be kept on leads everywhere, with the exception of a few little 'dog exercise' areas in a handful of parks.
Astonishingly, the Parks Department erected the signs without going through the correct legal process of changing the existing byelaw, which states that 'All Dogs Must Be Kept Under Control' (a very sensible law in our opinion). We discovered that they had been so confident that they would sneak through the change in the law without proper consultation that they went ahead and spent £36,000 on this signage PRIOR to any changes being ratified.
There have been no substantial reasons put forward to justify this universal sentence being imposed upon all dogs and their owners, save the fact that the antisocial individuals who own those rather antisocial dogs sometimes vandalise park property and don't clear up after their animals.We all condemn this, but these are issues which can and should be dealt with using existing legislation.
Why should the law-abiding majority with mild-mannered happy dogs be penalised for the sins of the antisocial few? It's like saying that all humans should be locked up because a few of the species commit GBH. There are antisocial elements in all the different park user groups, so why have the dog owners been singled out for mass punishment?
We believe that any changes in the law regarding dogs on leads should be done on a park by park basis by the local regular users, and not imposed as a blanket policy across the whole borough. We beg the help and support from all people who believe in fair play and common sense.
WE DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME. The Southwark Executive will be making the decision on June 19. PLEASE sign our online petition If you want to know more details about our efforts so far we have a myspace spot