Controls on Hampstead Heath dog walkers scrapped after government rule change
Plans to put a leash on the dog-walking industry on Hampstead Heath have been scotched at the final hour.
The City of London Corporation was to bring in dog control orders on the beauty spot today to put a cap on the number of canines one person can bring on to the Heath at a time.
But the government wants to scrap dog control orders in a bid to streamline anti-social behaviour legislation.
New chairman of Hampstead Heath management committee, Jeremy Simons, said: “It had been a very long process to get to this point and we thought that on Thursday it would be bingo! But dog control orders are to be abolished so it is back to the drawing board.”
The City of London had applied for powers to limit the number of dogs walked by one person after a spate of incidents in which handlers walking packs of pooches lost control.
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It is thought about 40 professional dog walkers operate on the Heath.
Sera Mendelson lost her beloved pet Bella after she ran away from her dog walker on the Heath in September last year.
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Mrs Mendelson called on the City to tighten its regulations when Bella was found badly injured near Kenwood car park and later died of complications.
She said: “I do have an issue with people handling too many dogs. But I don’t mind even when it is as many as six dogs; it’s when you get the rogue dog walkers who try to walk 10 or more at a time.
“If you come across someone else walking a pack of dogs then you suddenly have 20 animals between two people and the dynamics between the dogs might not be very good.
“But there are also some very good dog walkers who are responsible and would not mind some form of regulation.”
Powers to cap the number of dogs walked by one person will be enshrined in a new community protection order if the government’s White Paper goes through Parliament.
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation said officers from the Heath Constabulary would continue to advise people to keep their dogs under control.
Officers can prosecute dog walkers if they fail to keep their animals in hand.
Earlier this year a leading QC from Highgate was fined after his dog attacked another.