I live in a lovely city called Glasgow. Well, okay, it can be a bit wet here, but somehow I don’t think we are alone in that when I look at how wet other places have been this year :-(

But come rain or shine, we have some great parks here where I can run around and chase my ball, chase squirrels and play. We’re doing lots of our 1000-mile walk in these parks.  Strictly speaking, dogs are only allowed in the parks on a lead, but well-behaved and (mostly) obedient dogs like me are usually off the lead and running off all our energy.

The Council who look after our parks want to change the rules of the park. There’s lots of stuff about unlawful gatherings and nuisance and sports and commercial activities in the new rules, so I wouldn’t be allowed to arrange a tweet-up with my friends on Twitter if more than 20 people were to come without getting permission from the man at the top of the Council. But more worrying are the rules about dogs in the parks.

When I heard that there were going to be new rules about dogs, I was very excited because I thought they would be changed from “All dogs on leads” to be more in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. For those who don’t live in Scotland, the Code basically means we and our humans can go most places, no matter who owns them, as long as we are responsible. And the Code tells us dogs how to be responsible too – there are certain places we have to avoid or where we have to be on a lead or walking to heel, like in fields with animals or food growing. But mostly we are allowed to be off-lead as long as we are under proper control – which means coming back when called, I guess, and leaving things alone when told to.

So I had hoped our Council would change the rules to follow the Code. If you go to our parks, there are some fields with animals, but mostly our parks don’t HAVE any of the kinds of places where we’re not allowed to be off the lead. Which would mean that Glasgow’s parks would be really welcoming to us dogs, as long as we behaved ourselves and went on lead when it was sensible and responsible to do that.

But no. The Council mentions the Code in its definitions but then it doesn’t refer to it at all in the new rules. We have to be on a short lead (no extending leads or leads longer than 2 metres) or at heel all the time, just like under the old rules. And there’s a brand-new rule that says people can’t walk more than three dogs. If we break the rules, we can be expelled or even banned from the parks for up to a year.

I do wonder how they will check who is breaking the rules. We never see park wardens now because the Council moved them all to other jobs. I’d rather they spent money on improving the parks, to be honest. There’s lots of rubbish that needs to be picked up and quite a few bits of the parks that need mending. We dogs aren’t the problem that needs to be fixed.

If you think the Council is missing the point and should follow the Code, you can sign the petition against the rules and – if you live in Glasgow – you can respond to the consultation.

About these ads