Dog walkers in South Derbyshire brand the local council ‘nanny state’, ‘jobsworth’ and lacking in ‘common sense’ after ‘new’ law is enforced.
By Published on 2 May 2019
Swadlincote Woodlands and Park lies on the outskirts of the ancient parish town of Swadlincote. The town is home to around 32,000 people many of whom are avid dog lovers. Since the park is well demarcated and reasonably safe locals regularly head there to let their dogs run freely.
However, in recent weeks the council appears to have renewed its efforts to enforce a Public Spaces Protection Orders that has been active since 2008. More dog wardens than ever now patrol the area with instructions to fine owners who let their dogs run off-lead.
The move has prompted those residents who use the park on a daily basis to complain about the draconian measures; some have even branded the council’s decision a symptom of a ‘nanny’ state.
'One of the reasons people own a dog'
Mike Dawson, who has visited the park for the last six years and regularly lets his dog Lily roam freely told the Derby Telegraph: ‘We have lived near the woodlands for eight years now and for the last six years walked our family dog in the woodlands. We have always allowed her off her lead as she is a friendly, non-aggressive dog. Dogs like the freedom to run. It is one of the reasons people own a dog’.
Mr Dawson, who was puzzled by the sudden increased enforcement of the PSPO, said, ‘Why has this only just happened? Most dog owners are very responsible with dogs on or off the lead. The owners know best, not some jumped-up jobsworth of a dog warden making money for what?
‘I am seriously fed up of control freaks within the council pandering to the minority of people who obviously do not like dogs.’
The council’s reponse to the complaints was characteristically blunt. ‘To ensure that the district is clean for all to enjoy,’ a spokesman said, ‘our safer neighbourhood wardens monitor, inspect and maintain areas on a regular basis.
‘Our Public Spaces Protection Orders are designed to ensure that the use of all of our open spaces provides a fair and equal balance to everyone who wants to enjoy them.’