Dog lead rule enforced at Stormont

Published Friday, 11 April 2014
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Dog owners have been told they must now keep their pets on leads while walking them in the Stormont Estate.

Dog lead rule enforced at Stormont
Signs have been erected on the grounds to enforce the rule. (© UTV)

A rule in place since 1933 does not permit dogs into the estate unless under proper control and the Department for Finance and Personnel (DFP), which is responsible for Stormont, has decided to enforce them following a number of recent complaints of dog attacks.

According to the department, on an average week day, the estate attracts in the region of 600 plus dogs with this increasing at the weekends to over 1500.

Signs have been erected on the grounds of Stormont to inform visitors of the rule.

A DFP statement said: "The majority of dog owners are responsible and either keep their dogs on leads or closely supervise them. Unfortunately, we have been experiencing problems with free running, unsupervised dogs.

"Unsupervised dogs are also causing damage to shrub and flower beds necessitating us to fence areas off.

"There has also been a dramatic increase in dog fouling and as we move towards the summer with people wanting to picnic and bring young children unto the park, fouling is certainly something that we want to avoid."

A spokesperson said on a busy day the estate attracts more than 4,000 vehicles and therefore the roads could pose a danger to any dogs off-leash.

"We have had a number of incidents of free running dogs causing accidents and also a number of dog fatalities, something we also would wish to avoid," the statement added.

"Until such time as we can educate owners to be responsible this restriction of dogs being on a lead and under their owners control will have to stand."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Petros in Stormont wrote (274 days ago):
Ban all runners and cyclists from woodland paths as they think it's their right and their right only to use them. Children restricted to the playpark area, walkers only to use the pathways, dogs on short leads only allowed in designated areas.
shannnon in belfast wrote (283 days ago):
this rule is a complete disgrace! where do the inforcers of this rule suppose we walk our dogs? i walk my dog regualarly at stormont adn i have yet to encounter a dog being vicious, agressive or running wild and jumping all over me! any dog owners ive seen with dogs who arent comfortable with people will walk them off a leash in an area wiht very little people nad then put them on a leash when a person comes. if theyre going to claim that dogs are an issue here and should be put on leads then perhaps they should put the cyclists that come flying round the trails at top speeds onto a lead too! the number of times i ahve almost been knocked over by a cyclish far outweighs the number of incidents ive had wiht dogs- and that would be none! stormont was the one place in belfast that we could let our dogs run free in and them not come home filthy. and to the people suggesting country parks or beaches, no way! if you take your dog there then they come home in need of a bath adn any dog owner knows that if your takign your dog out for a long walk daily then you cant bath it that often cause it will damage their coat and skin! i dont mind what they do now just as long as they have some rule about allowing even some dogs off the leads if theyre under control. the kennel club has a good citizen dog scheme where dogs get tested for walking, coming back to their owner, having manners with food etc. so why not make it a rule that owners either have to have gotten an award in this or can prove that they behave? and also dogs on leads could be more of a danger than dogs off them, try an extendable lead 20 foot long, thats more dangerous than a dog runnig free it could trip someone up or injure the dog or owner! what are they gonna say put your dog on a shorter lead next? someone really should start up a petition to get this changed cause this isnt right, its not fair for a dog to be in a house or small enclosed garden all day to go for its walk to discover that they cna see this massive space to run in but cant get more than 2m from their owners! im sorry but i truly am against this rule and im not afraid to speak my opinion, 90% or more of dogs in the park dont do any harm and never would, better to spend their time and money on getting rid of the minority of problem dogs and owners and let the other dogs enjoy a bit of freedom.
Keith in Stormont wrote (284 days ago):
I am only 1 of hundreds of responsible dog owners who use Stormont everyday. I have a very energetic dog who just lives to chase a retrieve a ball. Walking her on a lead is just pointless as on average, she will sprint over 10 miles in the time it takes me to walk up the hill, around the top and back down again. Then, and only then, is she exhausted and calm. I always walk on the grass and well away from other people, and like the vast vast majority of dog owners, I always clean up any messes. Rarely have I seen another dogs foul contrary to how this restriction is being portrayed. This is about vicarious liability and reducing the likelihood of being sued for any injuries caused by errant dogs. So I do agree that there is an issue to be addressed, but banning all dogs regardless of how well behaved they are is taking the matter to the extreme. As for quoting dog fatalities as a cause, Stormont must take that responsibility for not providing water ANYWHERE in the estate for dogs to drink from. Dogs dehydrate much faster than humans due to their small size and do not know when to stop running until it is to late. I myself have had to carry my dog out of the estate due to dehydration. I'm very disappointed at this and will be raising the issue with my local MP. Lets hope a bit of common sense prevails and errant dogs are either banned from the park or the owner fined. Either way, 99% of other dog owners could still enjoy what is a beautiful open park.
john in crumlin wrote (287 days ago):
and so they should be not everybody likes dogs and a lot of people are very much afraid of dogs. it's a public space not a dog park
K9 in Cherry Valley wrote (288 days ago):
Dogs aren't the only ones that need put on a lead up in Stormont ;-)
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