Dogs Debate: park user groups and children comment

We’ve heard from the worried parent, the responsible dog owner and the Police. What about other park users? We spoke to the Friends of Cross Flatts Park and the Friends of Middleton Park.

Cross Flatts Park. Photo: Jeremy Morton
Cross Flatts Park. Photo: Jeremy Morton

Friends of Cross Flatts Park has been campaigning to improve the park for fifteen years.

They successfully won funding to improve security with railings around the park and had the old tennis courts refurbished to create Multi Use Games Areas.

The Friends run a series of summer concerts every year and a dog show to encourage responsible dog ownership. In the past they have run campaigns to get owners to clean up after their dogs and given out free rolls of plastic bags.

Cllr Angela Gabriel, Chair of the Friends said:

“It is upsetting to hear that this happened in our park and I hope Alfie has made a full recovery. As someone who has been very scared of dogs in the past, I’m very sympathetic. It has taken me 60 years to over come this fear.

“I could not support banning dogs from the park but would like to encourage responsible dog ownership. The problem is down to a few irresponsible dog owners so I do not feel a ban would be appropriate.”

Cllr Gabriel added that the Friends could do more to educate dog owners and work with the police and dog wardens.

“The park is for everyone, dog owners and those that are scared of dogs. We need everyone to respect other park users and behave responsibly.”

Alan Shaw from Friends of Middleton Park commented:

“Middleton Park, as with many other parks and green spaces around Leeds, suffers sometimes from dogs off the lead that are out of control. Although the Park is safe, we have had our fair share of dog attacks and near misses. This has always concerned the Friends and we have been trying to promote responsible dog ownership through the annual Dog Show.

“Now we feel that we want to do something more. We just completed a discounted course of basic dog training for owners and their dogs with the need. We hope to be able to offer it again in the new year for any more owners who want to be able to learn how to control their dogs better.”

Bangla SquareChildren from the Bangla Square Youth Project recently produced a special magazine about Cross Flatts Park as part of their Junior Reporters course. Here’s what they thought of the park:

Nazeen (11): “I like Cross Flatts Park. I play football and rounders on there, but I don’t like dogs because they’re ruthless and poo everywhere.”

Faisal (11): “I like everything in the park apart from dogs – there should be dog-free zones. I don’t like them and they put me off from coming.”

Mamun (10): “I like everything! Cross Flatts Park is a place where kids can enjoy themselves. The only thing I don’t like about it are the dogs and the dog poo.”

Hamza (10): “I think dogs should be banned from the park, I don’t like them or their poo! I think a barbecue / food court is a good idea and more rock climbing walls.”