Published Friday, 11 April 2014
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