Dogs in parks
Dogs need to run around and get exercise and Hackney has lots of green, open spaces loved by dogs and their owners.
Hackney’s green spaces and parks are for the whole community; here are a few tips for dog owners to make sure that everyone can enjoy them.
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Dog mess left in parks is unhygienic, unpleasant for other park users, and can be dangerous for children who might pick it up without knowing it is bad for them. Dog mess can also harm plants and animals.
Failure to clean up after your dog is an offence under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. You could face a fixed penalty of £80 or prosecution if you fail to pick up after your dog.
Dog mess should be placed in a sealed bag and deposited in any park litter bin or at home. The £80 fixed penalty notice is reduced to £50 if it’s paid within 10 days. Prosecution for the offence carries a maximum fine of £1,000, plus costs upon conviction.
We know the vast majority of dog owners in the borough are responsible. However, feedback from residents and park users has revealed that they are concerned by dogs off their leads, aggressive dogs and dogs in children’s play areas.
There is a Public Spaces Protection Order (dog control) in place that outlines how people should control their dogs in Hackney. The current Public Spaces Protection Order (dog control) is due to expire on 17 March 2024. A replacement Public Spaces Protection Order (dogs) is currently being consulted on until 19 Nov 2023.
Some people, especially small children, can find dogs intimidating. These simple tips will keep the park enjoyable for you, your dog and other people:
- keep your dog in sight and under control at all times
- put your dog on a lead if necessary
- remember other park users may be afraid of your dog
- make sure your dog doesn’t disturb or harass wildlife
- keep your dogs out of children’s play areas and other marked dog-free areas so they don’t frighten children, foul in play areas or damage park equipment
- let your dog to run and jump on other people or dogs without an invitation
- let your dog enter water such as rivers or lakes in parks, especially when it’s icy or during the spring/summer waterfowl breeding season – this will avoid disturbing wildlife and exposing your dog to risk
- allow your dog to damage play equipment
- allow your dog to damage trees – they can get infected or die when bark or branches are scratched or pulled off
Training a dog can be very rewarding and spending time with your dog is much more fun if they always come back when called and don’t pull on the lead. You can get advice about dog training from your vet and animal welfare organisations.
Allowing your dog to damage property, including trees and children’s play equipment, is a criminal offence and may be subject to prosecution. You should use specially-made dog toys for training and play to avoid serious injuries and to prevent your dog from damaging property.
If you see a dog damaging property please contact the Police on 101 in non-emergency circumstances or dial 999 for urgent problems.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to look after your dog and make sure it doesn’t stray. Your dog must wear a tag by law when out in a public place.
If you see a stray dog, or one that’s out of control, call the Hackney animal warden service on 020 8356 6688.