Pack mentality

Michael is calling for a culture change in the Hilly Fields dog-owner community since his dog has been bitten twice in recent months. He writes:

I’m a regular user of Hilly Fields and it’s a park I greatly love. It’s very sad then that the “sociable” dog owners of Hilly Fields don’t seem that responsible. There’s is never a single time that I see a dog owner put their dog on a lead when my dog and I walk past them.

It’s pretty much the first rule of dog owning: See a dog you don’t know? Then put your dog on a lead. Let them get to know one another while the owners are in complete control. I know that a lot of dog owners will argue that their dog is kind and gentle but you just don’t ever know how one dog will react to another.

My dog got seriously attacked last year in Ladywell Fields because of a thoughtless owner who couldn’t be bothered to simply put their dog on a lead for a moment.

Also, yes, these owners “socialise”. But they do it by simply standing there talking while their dogs run around. That’s not walking your dog. Fine, socialise, by all means. But walk with the dogs. Every time I see a large group of dogs off the lead, it means I can only stay at one part of the park.

And you know what? Maybe I’d like to socialise with them too but it’s impossible if they won’t just take a minute to put dogs on lead and get them to know one another first.

147 comments:

Martin said...

Don't know if it's related to the incident(s) in question, but several Parkrunners were sent flying by loose dogs in Hilly Fields this Saturday morning just gone. Big buggers, and fast. (The dogs, not the runners.)

Daryl & Tui. said...

There is no “first rule of dog owning” that you put your dog
on a lead when you see another dog on a lead. There is a convention to do this when you see a dog with a
yellow ribbon (http://www.yellowdoguk.co.uk/).
If you put a ribbon on your dogs
lead, I am sure you will see that everyone exhibits the response you are after.

Su said...

It's not just dogs, my five year old son is terrified by some of the big dogs running around the park.

Jim McG said...

I am totally guilty of my dog socialising with other dogs. What Mike fails to understand is that we are all up there letting our dogs socialise.

anonymouse said...

This is a recent idea from USA probably. Most people are unaware of the yellow signal. Common sense might dictate that red was a better colour.

Sorry but the first rule of dog walking is if you see a dog on a lead you don't let your dog approach it. There may be many reasons it is on a lead: it could have kennel cough, or be in season, or reactive top other dogs. My dog is always on a lead, he is blind and id terrified of other dogs running up to him; he exhibits this by appearing to be very fierce.

Monkeyboy said...

ive been run off the path by an assertive jack russell while running. more down to my cowardice it has to be said.

anonymouse said...

I agree entirely with Michael. Runners can be weird too. One shouted at me to keep my dog under control (?) he was nowhere near me (the runner) and that he'd broken his arm tripping over a dog on a lead. He shouldn't have been so close.

Daryl & Tui said...

We were told about it at puppy class 5 years ago - it couldn't hurt to have a yellow bow on your lead.

Hillyfields User said...

With the number of dogs at Hillyfields, if you were to put your dog on the lead each time it interacts with another it would constantly be on the lead, and therefore there would be little point taking the dog to the park as it wouldn't get nearly enough exercise...

Mr Jones said...

What's wrong with keeping the dog on its lead all of the time? If you actually WALK the dog on its lead it will get exercise. Less chat and more walking.

Mr Jones said...

While us humans like to enjoy the park too and to be able to bring our kids without them being scared of dogs bigger than them

Chris Wheal said...

In the old days of newspaper publishing the editor would be able to spot a nutter because they wrote in green biro. Those letters would then be ignored. The internet is a field day for the green biro brigade.

If someone wrote to you saying that any dog owner who had not trained his or her dog to walk on its hind legs was negligent (this is standard in any good bog training book), would you run it without checking first?

Michael Legge ( Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.legge and Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaellegge raised this evidence-less accusation first on the Hilly Fields
website. http://www.hilly.org.uk/dogs/ but his accusation about his dog
being maimed was not published. He made it days ago on the website, yet on Twitter he made the claim only 11 hours ago and on Facebook just 7 hours ago. He has made it to me on Twitter today. With no evidence.

@whealie My dog was just attacked by two off lead dogs. But I'm working with the warden to do something about it.— Michael Legge (@michaellegge) March 30, 2015


I'd at least ask to see the police reports and vet bills for the "twice bitten dog" before even considering the story for publication. He claims to have the case with the dog wardens so the council too will have a full record. Have you checked any of the facts?

I assume as Brockley Central has published it this you have the evidence to support the allegations. Can you confirm, or do you run unfounded gossip?

Jim McG said...

I bring my kid there too. She loves the park with her dog.

Anon said...

Yes but social interaction is integral to a dogs growth and development as is chatting with the owners. Hillyfields has a wonderful community of dog owners and dogs alike. Maybe you just aren't a part of it?

Jim McG said...

Nah, I rather utilise the park.

anonymouse said...

The first word my dog learned was 'jogger', to warn him of approaching runner.

Unfortunately BC doesn't have a fact-checking dept., but it isn't the NYT.

Mr Jones said...

It's nice to respect other people when you do use the park though

Woof said...

It's a shame and I'm sorry your dog was hurt, but all you've managed to do Michael, is give ammunition to the dog haters of Brockley society. Nice one!

Iain said...

Couldn't they enclose an area for dogs to go off the lead? Or would the dogs find that demeaning?

Brockley Nick said...

Chris, you are rather missing the point of this article, which is to provoke a debate about how people should treat their dogs in our local parks. Whether a particular dog was bitten and how many times is immaterial - I have seen myself the behaviour he describes and as you can see from the comments, there are a range of strong opinions on the matter.


Surely, a debate worth having.

Monkeyboy said...

I will give you $100 for your talking dog.

Seb Aguirre said...

I've got a 10 month old pup and since he was able to go outside he's found hilly fields a fantastic place to socialize with dogs of all sizes and backgrounds, as well as humans! The first rule of owning a dog is not to 'keep it on a lead when it approaches other dogs' - that's absurd and creates a whole heap of neuroticisms in potentially both dogs! I grew up around hilly fields and had a dog as a child. This was when dogs were kept on a lead a lot more and no one picked up their dogs mess and what that created was a grotty park with dogs that were all the more aggressive for being kept on a lead! I walk my dog at least once a day in Hilly fields and I've only come across an aggressive dog once and it's owners were taking precautions to ensure it wasn't a danger to anyone. Hilly fields has a great community of dogs, as well as walkers, children, joggers and fitness people who as long as they don't get too territorial (Ironic really) can all get along just fine. Do we want cycle only/pram only/jogger only/walking only paths in the park? It's a park for gods sake, not a military camp! Why would you walk your dog in the park if you're going to keep it on a lead? That's just silly, not to mention mean!

Mr Jones said...

Shoot the messenger.

Mutley said...

Cost of entry = A dog pound?

David said...

Unfortunately the people who don't pick up dog poo never will, and they certainly aren't the people you will see walking dogs en-mass in the park.

terrencetrentderby said...

Tell him to man up then

terrencetrentderby said...

They all seem to live on Revelon Road AKA dog turd alley.

Robert said...

"The Dog Haters of Brockley Society". I love how your imagination runs riot. Many who turn up for BrocSoc meetings have dogs too - and you'll find them at the park enjoying it with their dogs and the rest of you.


However, I can understand the dog issue. I like dogs, and I am not intimated by them when they approach me off lead. I quite like it. The bigger the better. Though it is true that some people are scared of dogs, both children and adults. It's quite a common fear - one that seems totally irrational to a dog owner.


I witnessed something recently that sums this up. A rather excited yorkshire terrier approach a nervous young boy at Hilly Fields. The boy was terrified by it and started to run. Of course, the dog thought that was a great game, and chased after him. The father lost his rag, and started chasing the dog, trying to kick it. The owner then started chasing the father, shouting abuse at him "you stupid man, he's just playing", the father started hurling abuse at the owner "I am going to kill your dog, you should control your dog". Meanwhile the dog had got bored with all this and had wondered off to smell another dogs bum. The child looked shell-shocked.

woof said...

I wasn't referring to BrocSoc, rather the brigade of Brockley residents who would happily exclude us from society. Perhaps Robert, you would be the man to help instigate a designated area where well behaved dogs could be let off lead without fear of being roared at by the parent of an approaching, curious child.

Dick Dasterdley said...

It really shouldnt be that hard. Clear up after your dog and if it is near young children just stick it on the lead. "Its just playing" is a feeble excuse, I wouldnt shout the same if my kid rode her bike into a pack of OAPs out for a Sunday afternoon preambulation.

terrencetrentderby said...

BrockSoc may hate a lot of things, poor people, upvc windows, anywhere outside the conservation area, but not dogs. Except dogs that do not live in the conservation area.

Chris Wheal said...

So if someone from Britain First sent you some evidence-free racist filth you'd print it because provoking a debate on immigration was a good idea? I think not. Why have different standards for different subjects?

I'm happy to debate dogs (or immigration) but based on facts.

This chap is spreading hate about dog owners, not based on any evidence. Dog wardens deal with lost and found dogs and the police deal with dangerous dogs. There is no such accepted protocol that dogs should always meet other dogs on leads (that would mean they could never be off the lead). He has made the claim on various dates in various social media. At best he's confused. Any engagement with him would reveal this. You have done yourself a disservice to print this attention-seeking rubbish as fact.

Headhunter said...

This is annoying but I find that other people's cats taking a dump in my back garden uninvited is far more annoying than a dog turd on the street....

Headhunter said...

I completely agree - sticking dogs on leads and hauling them away from other dogs at the 1st sight of each other is to teach them problems. Dogs need to socialise with each other. Having said that, some owners take this to extremes. Some people in parks are genuinely scared of dogs and owners need to keep an eye out for this. I absolutely adore dogs and have no probs with them approaching me but I looked after a friends dog for a while - a little Westie - and I was surprised at some people's reaction to the little white dog, but you have to consider others' feelings in a public park.


I had a problem myself on Hilly Fields. I used to walk the little Westie there every evening after work and my walk seemed to coincide with the owner of a friendly young labrador. The lab would come lolloping up to the Westie and was clearly just looking to play but unfortunately Westie didn't like it and took to running full pelt to the road to get away. I had to chase after him to stop him running into traffic.


One time I caught him and scooped him up off the ground and the young lab continued to jump up at Westie, muddy paws all over my coat. The owner didn't even appear to have a lead at all and all he could do was call the dogs name weakly from some distance away and insist that he "only wants to play"... I understand that he only wants to play but unfortunately my dog doesn't get this and was about to run into traffic... Some dog owners literally need to pay attention to what their dog is doing....

Headhunter said...

It's a bit limiting... Some dogs literally need to have the space to run around like crazy to burn energy. A small corner of the park with a few dogs taking a poo is not going to meet this need...

Dick Dasterdley said...

I know someone* who shot his next door neighbour's cat for doing this. He waited all evening and then gunned it down with an air rifle before lobbing the dead cat back over the fence.
* Who is an absolute loon.

Dog of War said...

Dick. Vast majority of dog owners pick up their dogs poo. As for you, If your foot connected with my dog it would be they last thing it ever connected with.

Andy said...

As a frequent user of the park with young kids I have noticed an increase in packs of dogs hurtling around whilst their owners natter. The dogs haven't yet caused us or our kids any harm, but I am concerned that owners aren't aware of their dogs behaviour and conscious of the impact on young children. Wouldn't it be a shame if the kids grow up scared of dogs, just because some owners were thoughtless and lazy?

Dog of War said...

As one of the daily dog walkers who also enjoys standing having a natter whilst our dogs play we are very aware of what our dogs are doing. Hence why our dogs havnt caused your kids any harm.

Monkeyboy said...

A hate filled rant about imigration is not equivalent to someone annoyed about dogs not on a lead.

Dick Dasterdley said...

How are you supposed to remove a large dog from a small child? Serious question.

Woman of Brockley said...

Plenty of foxes doing that too.

Dog of War said...

Talk about worst case scenario. Are you a perpetual pessimist? or just a complete tool?

Dick Dasterdley said...

It was something I had to do a couple months back. Big dog charged up to my toddler and I pushed it back with my foot. Owner went mental. I am pretty big so I just pointed out to the young lad that he really should have a dog like that on a leash as he clearly couldnt control it. He pulled his stupid baseball cap down and glowered at me for a while then did one. Maybe I am a tool I just get fed up wading through dog sh1t in the park and on the streets.

Andy said...

Physically harmed? No. Scared? Absolutely. For a three year old to have a dog her height running at her chased by two or three other equally large dogs is frightening. Is it too much to ask for dog owners to think about the affect their animals have on young children?

Headhunter said...

Not much you can do about foxes, they're wild but other perhaps cat owners should keep their cats out of my garden? Just saying...

Headhunter said...

We had a pond in our garden when I was growing up with lovely Koi and other fish but the local bloody cat population took to fishing for them and killing them on the lawn. My dad took to firing an air rifle into the bushes behind them. It was funny to see them jump in the air, fall in the pond and hurtle, bedraggled up the garden. Not nice but best way to scare them off without hurting them...

Dog of War said...

As do we. As a reponsible dog owner/walker I and the vast majority of other owners clear up after our dog. Plus I/we will be the first to chastise irresponsible owners. But I also get fed up with being' tarred with the same brush' as the irresponsible minority.

Woman of Brockley said...

I have never had a cat but I understand they're not easy to keep under any sort of control. Not really so very different from foxes in that respect!

Dog of War said...

Thats why we stay in the middle of the park. Im sorry your child is scared of dogs. Maybe next time approach us and allow your child to interact with our dogs. They wont bite! It seems whatever we responsible owners do we are alway subject to criticism. We make way for the joggers, footballers, fitness mums with buggies etc. We are actually on the whole a very considerate lot. Im beginning to think we are being to considerate.

Chris Wheal said...

The technique is the same. Nick posted something without basis in fact because it supported his personal prejudice. I work on the Pastor Niemöller principle that if you don't speak out when others are being persecuted unfairly, eventually they'll come for you.

terrencetrentderby said...

First they came for the naughty dogs... soon you'll be hiding in someone's attic hoping the lavender shirts from Broc Soc don't find you.

terrencetrentderby said...

Mine only goes in the neighbour's garden, I have told him many times not to but he won't listen. You just can't reason with cats, as my mother says don't judge people by your own standards.

Headhunter said...

I don't really believe that you can stop a cat from straying into other people's gardens, I just think we should get a bit of perspective. People whingeing about dogs on the street, crapping in the parks etc when in actual fact cats aren't better from some people's perspective....

Monkeyboy said...

First they came for the Jack Russell....sorry i just cant take your point seriously. Your argument may be valid at a stratospherically high level, ive got an irationally exagerated dislike of charity street collectors and will happily write a snide comment about them. Doesnt mean i'll kick a homeless man in the balls.

Whats my point? i dont even know. ciao.

Headhunter said...

You're clearly not a dog owner and have never had much contact with dogs. You can't keep a dog constantly on the lead and expect it to get enough exercise just as, to go with your example, you can't always keep your kids in 1 spot all the time, tied to a chair in a pub or cafe. It's a ridiculous concept...

Moi said...

I'm sure most dog owners are responsible and pick up their dogs' poo - but then again, if their dogs are hurtling all around the park while their owners natter, can they honestly say that they always notice when their dog does its business? And can they always pinpoint the exact location from what is sometimes a considerable distance? I'm not convinced. There's a LOT of poo on the streets and in the park, considering how considerate and responsible you all are.
Of course every owner thinks their dog is delightful, but not everyone feels the same. This is the same with children. Basic consideration from both parties is not much to ask. I wouldn't expect you to be pleased about my child climbing on your lap when you're having a coffee, so I would like you to ensure that your dog doesn't jump all over me or terrify my children when I'm walking through the park. Then we can all rub along nicely together.

Headhunter said...

Personally I prefer the dogs to the screaming kids making life unpleasant but hey, it's a public park and I suppose we all have to respect each others' needs

Robert said...

Interesting. Do you think this is something the dog walkers would like? An area of the park specifically for dogs to socialise? This is quite common in America - where dogs are not usually allowed off the lead in public parks. Though I imagine if it were suggested seriously for Hilly Fields then the dog-walkers would be up in arms, no? You kind of like the freedom of the whole park, is the impression I have. And it is a good place for dogs with energy to go hell for leather across a great expanse.

tom said...

you will never have such control over your dogs to say that they won't bite - under some circumstances they will bite, perhaps when being unexpectedly handled by a small child. This shows that your dog-ownership extends to a lack of empathy with other park users.

terrencetrentderby said...

Conversations with cats are always one way. One minute they appear to be listening, staring intently only to start licking themselves clean. Rudeness and ignorance. Will raise the issue about the neighbour's garden tonight over dinner but I doubt it will achieve anything.

Dog of War said...

on the contrary. I have alot of empathy for other park users. However the stupidity of your post regarding what I was suggesting is quickly changing my views.

Dog of War said...

Moi - I agree

tom said...

yes, I thought you might become prickly when challenged slightly, probably like your dogs would behave if they encountered someone who they didn't find agreeable.

Dog of War said...

prickly no. Just really surprised by some posts. Oh and you dont sound smug and pompous at all!

Woof said...

I cannot speak for all dog owners but maybe a consultation needs to be organised. Then all users of Hilly Fields can be accommodated without some feeling victimised.

Brockley Nick said...

"Spreading hate about dog owners" - Do me a favour. He IS a dog owner and I thought it quite a mild discussion of dog-rearing etiquette.


You could take the reference to his dog being bitten out of the article entirely and it would not make any difference to the substance of the debate.

Michael Legge said...

I did write on the Hilly Fields website again on the 13th March about being harassed in Hilly Fields. It's still being "moderated" and they haven't posted the message yet. What evidence do you need, Wheelie? Receipts from vet, texts from the other dog owner?

Michael Legge said...

Be responsible with your dog and this wouldn't happen.

Michael Legge said...

I've asked for people to give a small bit of respect to other dog owners and other people in the park and this is genuinely the response? Anger and hatred? Really? Wow.

Michael Legge said...

Here you go...

Michael Legge said...

And another for you, Wheelie.

Michael Legge said...

Seriously, Wheelie. You are mentally ill.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

The simple fact is if the dog owners mis-use the park they will be banned. Look at most beaches nowadays.

woof said...

Michael, you have been introduced to the group of dog walkers you refer to, so I'm disappointed that you didn't come and speak to us directly if you have a problem with us. Everyone is very approachable and was very nice to you and your dog. It wasn't one of our dogs that hurt yours so I am confused as to why we have been made the villains in your letter and didn't these incidents happen in Ladywell Fields anyway?

Jennifer said...

I'm a really, really new, first-time dog owner so I've been reading quite a bit about dog walking etiquette (among other things), also taking the dog to classes and having sessions with a trainer etc.. The issue of putting your dog on a lead if you come across a dog you don't know has not come up until I read this post, which makes me think it's not all that well-known a rule? I can see the sense of it but as someone else points out, at times in Hilly Fields, you're coming across an unknown dog every few minutes, so it doesn't seem all that practical. And seems likely to be another rule that is ignored by people who don't care if their dogs are a menace. But I will be more aware in future and look out for anyone with one of those warning leads. Hope your dog is OK, Michael.

woof said...

I agree but the only anger and hatred I've seen has been from non dog owners.

Dog of War said...

Really? I thought it was a bit sweeping

Dog of War said...

woof, you've said exactly what I was thinking

Michael Legge said...

I haven't been introduced to any, I don't think. The reason I now walk my dog in Ladywell Fields is because every morning I went to Hilly Fields, I'd have to avoid dog owners who all smile and say "He's friendly" while my dog remains terrified that a complete stranger has bolted right up to her. Then I asked ONE dog owner to put his dogs on a lead and he threatened me. So that was that when it comes to Hilly Fields. I'm sorry you feel disappointed that I didn't speak to you but look what happened when I did finally talk to a dog walker.

Dog of War said...

you speak to ONE person and judge us all. I think that says it all.

Michael Legge said...

Thank you, Jennifer.

Michael Legge said...

I got threatened! Is that not a good enough reason to not go back? Also, your name is really not helping.

Michael Legge said...

Dog of war certainly seems cross, as do a few others. Generally, though, yes. You're right. Seems a lot of anger on both sides.

Dog of War said...

Im not cross. I just think you initial post was very sweeping and Im surprised that you've allowed one incident with a dog walker to cloud your judement of Hilly Fields. I also think from your post this person was a dog walker and not a owner.

Dog of War said...

by one person. Get a grip and stop being so sensitive. Sorry does my name tag threaten you!"

tom said...

don't be a jessie - give the other dog owner the rough side of your tongue

Guest said...

I hope you reported him.

Headhunter said...

You clearly don't know dogs. Many dogs will NOT bite unless clearly aggressively challenged and even then they are more likely to cringe and whimper. I can categorically say that none of the dogs I grew up with ever bit anyone and they put up with some rough and annoying behaviour from us kids. Yes some dogs can be aggressive but it's impossible to say that all dogs bite just as it's impossible to predict how some humans will react in certain situations...

Guest said...

And what about the none-conservation area of Brockley? I know Brockley Society hates the none-conservation area, but the amount of poop I have to wade pass daily is ridiculous.


Conservation area dog owners, please keep your dog poop to yourself. Us none conservation area, none dog owners would like our streets back.

Headhunter said...

I think that's unlikely. Dogs are not banned from all beaches just some. Dog owners pay for parks just as people with kids, people who want to fly a kite or play with a frisbee and we all have rights to use public spaces...

Headhunter said...

So it's OK to ignore your cat's behaviour but dog owners must be vigilant at all times?

David said...

I think this is really misguided. Yes people who stand and chat and allow their dogs to play and socialise may seem like they won't be paying attention to any poos. The reality is that these people genuinely care about their dogs and take the responsibility of cleaning up after them very seriously.


Say for example I see another dog going to the toilet I will tell its owner that it has done so and where to find said poo. The first thing that irritates regular dog walkers is the very fact that there is still a lot of dog poo and that they will be blamed for it. People who don't pick up their dog's mess are likely to be walking late at night or through the park on a lead which is also why you see so much dog poo on the pavement - someone who walks to the park for a 'dog walk' would never leave dog mess on the pavement.


This argument is akin to saying that the people who go for a coffee at the cafe are responsible for all the rubbish that is left in the park.

Monkeyboy said...

Bet the intern who monitors that looks forward to the first task of the day.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Where I holiday in Devon it is ALL the beaches from May to September in the resorts. Less so if you go to out of the way places.
All I'm saying is that if the owner's/walkers clear up the mess and keep their animals under control, then the problem doesn't exist.
Same goes for children by the way.

Broccola said...

I have a solution. How does that say go? Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow....spot the cat owner!
Good luck people and don't start shooting each other's dogs and children please, I believe we are still a democratic community!:)

Woman of Brockley said...

Goodness me. This place has been rather quiet of late but look at this thread. I am simply observing from the sidelines as I have neither a dog nor a small child. The obsessive runner in the house has fortunately not yet been savaged or tripped up by a dog, or even salivated over.

maisie_moo said...

The difference is that a dog should be on a lead everywhere but at the park, so you should always be right with them when they do a poo in the street (and armed with bags). And you should be able to monitor them in the park, too - most dogs are pretty predictable in terms of when they "toilet".

maisie_moo said...

I walk a large, unruly dog as a volunteer for the Cinnamon Trust, and always keep him on the lead until he has been introduced to other dogs - he's so enormous a lot of other dogs are wary of him. Once they've had a good sniff I feel comfortable letting him off the lead, but I'm always watching him and ready to get him back on the lead if a new dog appears. I have sympathy for both sides of the argument, but you really do need to have a totally obedient dog (that will come when you call) before you can let them run around near small children, even if there is zero chance they would actually harm the child.

dogwalker said...

I too regularly use Hilly Fields for exercise, taking my toddler to play, walking my dogs, and walking other people's dogs. Oh, and coffee! The public park has many uses and users and while most of us get along or avoid each other as necessary, there will always be those who feel that their needs and idea of the park's intended use come first.

As someone who has worked in animal welfare and walked hundreds of dogs, I have found that everyone has a unique idea of what the "first rule of dog owning" is. I have never heard of the yellow ribbon idea, although it would be nice if it caught on. When I walk dogs off lead, I do my best to keep them under voice control, calling them away from leashed dogs, children, picnics, and individuals who look anxious. Often, if someone doesn't want a dog near them they feel the onus is completely on the handler to get the dog away, but coping with spaced out joggers, careless cafe-goers (who leave morsels irrisistible to canines), and children running straight for a dog can sometimes prove difficult.

Dogs are domesticated companion animals and need to be socialised and exercised regularly - after 10,000 years of hanging around humans, they are here to stay and many of us derive pleasure from perambulating with our canine pals. I would say that if you don't want a dog coming near you, make a verbal statement to the dog's handler so that they are aware and can (hopefully) call the dog. If you have children - even if you don't want them to ever touch a dog - please teach them how to behave appropriately around animals in order to help prevent accidents should they develop ideas of their own (see attachment). Diverse user groups benefit from respecting each other's needs in the park so that we can all go about enjoying whatever it is we are doing.

dogwalker said...

attach.

anonymouse said...

It really isn't about putting your dog on a lead when you meet a dog you don't know. If a dog is leashed it may be for a good reason, so that it can't interact with another dog for one reason or another. I was recently in the dog area at Manor Hse Gdns when a couple with a spaniel on a lead walked thru the area. All the other dogs were unleashed and made a bee-line for the spaniel. The spaniel's owner began kicking the dogs. Turns out his dog was on heat and he didn't want it to mate with just any old dog. Fair enough, but why bring it into the dog area?

Hilly Fields is one of the few areas where people seem unaware of keeping their free ranging dogs away from dogs on leads.

NAT said...

Mmm,but if you look behond, the headline litter issues which I think have been overstated a little, dogs are clearly not the agents of small scale ecological chaos that cats clearly are.

headhunter said...

Doesn't answer the question. Why is it OK for people to allow their cats to stay into other people's gardens for a crap and to catch fish out of ponds etc yet dig owners somehow are supposed to be omniscient re their pets.

Mr.dog said...

Whilst I do take the point about unruly dogs causing havoc for others, I'd just like to add that not all of us are irresponsible and unruly. I'd also like to take issue with those who say we all poop in hilly fields. I have been caught short on one or two occasions whilst stretching my legs but I was left with little choice other than going cagare fuori for there was simply no where else for me to deposit my shame. So for me the real issue is why aren't there toilets for dogs in hilly fields?

Michael Legge said...

Well, that makes no sense.

Michael Legge said...

Well, that's your argument ruined then.

Michael Legge said...

No, I don't judge you all from that. I judge you all from the fact that when I walk my dog in Hilly Fields no one ever puts their dog on a lead to introduce dogs to each other. If you scroll to the top of the page you'll see that that is what this thread is actually about.

Michael Legge said...

Nice. And note that the dog isn't off lead until comfortable and confident.

maisie_moo said...

The word "allow" implies a degree of control over a cat's actions that simply doesn't exist. Dogs can be trained, cats (by and large) can't. And most cats are not suitable for an indoor life.

Panda said...

I agree with most of what Michael has written. We have been walking our dogs on the Hillies for well over 30 years, but now use Ladywell fields, we left due to the attitude of not one but many so called dog lovers, who just dont understand that some dogs are not sociable, and do not want other dogs around them. Our dog (a rescue) is always on the lead. We have been shouted out, reported to the police, my husband told he was an alcoholic ( he has speech problems) and also sensed a certain 'ganging up' towards us by some owners. All this due to owners who cannot control their own dogs when off the lead, and who dont wish to know that some dogs do come from very disturbed backgrounds. There have been numerous occasions when I have asked people to put a lead on their dog and not come near only to be met with a torrent of abuse. This kind of behaviour was rare a few years ago, the Hillies was for all to use. We were mostly tolerant towards dogs and people alike. Sadly not so now.

Moi said...

Well, I would suggest that actually, yes, *some* of the people who go for a coffee at the cafe ARE responsible for *some* of the rubbish that is left in the park, just as *some* dog walkers don't pick up after their dogs and are therefore responsible for *some* of the poo in the park. Foxes will also be partly to blame. I said that most dog owners are responsible; but a few clearly aren't. Just as a few people who eat at the cafe or take a picnic to the park leave rubbish behind them. I thought my post was pretty even-handed to be honest, but I might have known that someone would take issue with it.

Headhunter said...

Wow this dog thing has whipped up one of the biggest storms I've seen on this site in ages. 2 of the things I love most - cycling and dogs - seem to incite polarisation of opinion on the web!

terrencetrentderby said...

I'd be interested to know what SPAG and BXAG think about it, as well as the breakaway group the Real Brockley Society.

Magic Geoff said...

Headhunter: unlike dogs, the law recognises that the owners of cats are not responsible their animal's behaviour (with some exceptions): http://www.thecatgroup.org.uk/pdfs/Cats-law-web.pdf


That's why it's 'ok' for cats to behave like cats in people's gardens!

Headhunter said...

Don't get me wrong, I find it annoying when cats crap in my garden, kill birds and small mammals or catch fish out of my pond but I accept that it's going to happen I just think all this focus on dogs in public parks is unjustified when we "accept" cat behaviour.


As a child I was afraid of cats. I was scratched by a neighbours cat in the family garden at a young age. It didn't help that one of my grandparents also had a nasty cat. I'm still not really comfortable around cats - they're OK in the same room but I don't want them on my lap or anything!


I completely understand that it's unrealistic to expect cats not to come into a neighbour's garden but I find the focus om how dogs can scare kids in PUBLIC places unhelpful and I think cat owners have a duty of care - as outlined in that link....

Headhunter said...

Dogs are definitely not suited to an indoor life either! Neither are they suited to be on a lead at all times!

Mr Jones said...

Yes Moi, your post was even handed and fair.

Dog of War said...

No one Ever...you and your sweeping statements.
I love walking my dog in Hilly Fields, have met some great people and dogs along the way. Very occasionally I come across a difficult dog/owner, if I see that person again I avoid them. Simply. From your posts it obvious ALL the dog walkers of Hilly Fields don't meet your exact standards of dog walking protocol. I hope you find a park where all the walkers do. Its sad your dog was attacked, but that did happen in Ladywell Fields and not HF. So maybe we are not as bad as you seem to think. Life is too short to continue listening to your whinging. I’m off to Hilly Fields with my dog.

Lep Recorn said...

Maybe the Brockley Dogging Society could make a come back (!) to sort this out?

Chris Wheal said...

It would be great to know when Michael Legge is doing his comedy set based on winding everyone up here.

He has the unluckiest dog in history. It has been attacked more times than the Belfast's Europa hotel during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Monkeyboy said...

not everyone

scooby said...

Was actually wondering if this was just a material gathering exercise too. You must admit the skating youths gag is a bit old now.

David said...

Moi, Your post was in general very even handed. However you explicitly single out the group of people who 'stand and chat' and follow with a sarcastic comment about there being a lot of poo on the streets which is directed at 'you lot', i.e. those who you've seem standing around socialising.

I am saying the people you see doing this are absolutely not the people who leave dog mess about and my point about those people consequently being blamed for the dog crap has proven true.

I'll say it again that stray dog plop is left by a different type of dog owner, one who will never pay attention to a sign saying 'no dog fouling' or ever read a blog post about dog dirt.

David said...

Moi, realised that I mis-read and mis-quoted you, hence the sarcastic comment claim is unfounded, apologies for this.

Guest said...

His posts didn't wind me up.

Guest said...

As a none cyclist none motorist none dog owner, I blame all cyclists and dog walkers for the action of a few. Only fair considering most cyclists pigeon hole all motorists are blood lusting maniacs.

Michael Legge said...

Sweeping statement? It's a fact. It has never ever once happened ever. I am, however, delighted to hear the news that your life is short.

Dog of War said...

as Im delighted you wont be walking in Hilly Fields again. You can have your hissy fits in Ladywell Fields.

Michael Legge said...

I'll see you in Hilly today. And every day.

Dog of War said...

thats a shame.

Michael Legge said...

Feel free to not be there.

Dog of War said...

No, I will.

Michael Legge said...

Great! See you there, Mrs. Of War.

Simon said...

If you own a dog in the city just suck it up, there's not enough space and too many dogs. Dogs belong in the countryside or working for a living.

Dog of War said...

Hope not, the last thing I want is to meet a jumped up self-righteous bore like you on my walk.

Michael Legge said...

On my way now, Mrs. Of War.

Headhunter said...

Rubbish. There are too many cats in cities, killing local small mammals and birds...

Dog of War said...

anyway, this is silly. All said and done I hope your dogs OK and recovers from her bad encounter.

muttley said...

there's lots of lovely kids that want to stroke my dogs, others are nervous and i keep my dogs away from them. Loads of children at my local school have got over being scared of dogs from being around my two, even when it's deeply embedded through cultural, religious reasons and it's wonderful to see children get over their fears.
As long as you pick up your poop and your dog doesn't bite what's to get so worked up about

Devine Canine said...

'while my dog remains terrified'


It would seem that your dog is picking up on your anxiety Michael, dogs are not children and should not be treated like little vulnerable toddlers. As for the dog owners allowing their dogs to simply run around while they simply stand there and socialise is a complete mirepresentation of the truth. Genreally the dogs are running around with each other in the large expanse away fromthe paths, they are being supervised, if they poop away from the owners the owner wil leave the conversation at pick up the mess, clearly showing that they are monitoring their dogs 'movements'. I would suggest you stop being so self righteous and delusionary with your self proclaimed canine expertise. The park is a public space, guess what you will encounter the public their, both reasonable and unreasonable. I can guess you complain about the tube being full at peak times, the cheek of people not wanting to tip toe around you and your precious nuerotic pooch.....

Anon said...

Oh get a life Michael.

snoop said...

jeez, next they'll want the vote.


dogs aren't humans. they are pack animals and should always be under the absolute authority of their master /owner. no-one should have to treat a dog like a human, and no owner should permit their animal to believe it has the same status as a human

Fido said...

What a relief to find out that this 75 quid fine is the council using cheap and idiotic agencies!! I thought it was a scam!
As for socialising dogs, I'm all for it!! We are there virtually every day at all hours in all weathers, not just when the suns out . Maybe there are incidences where dogs get bitten (that was terrible news about the jack russell and it's owner) but us humans do far worse damage to each other on a regular basis than a well looked after dog does.If you want to keep your dog away from the packs of terrible hounds up on the hill why not try the Brockley Cemetery?? That's quiet and virtually dog free!!
As for kids being scared of dogs or more likely the parents, it's a PARK! And I apologise if I have upset anyone if one of my dogs has got a bit too close to a child while playing with another dog. But it's a PARK! If the kids see their parents shouting at a dog walker, the kids are bound to grow up hating and being scared of nasty terrible dog owners and their hounds.
Manor Park in Lee is great for kids and babies etc and dog free!! Why not go there for a change? Its not that far away! I hear they do kiddie events such as yoga and all sorts!! I saw a mother changing a dirty nappy right in the middle of it once, delightful!!!

Fido said...

Dear Mr Legge
If you own a whippet I am the dog owner who you say 'threatened' you. As I remember the black dog I was with went over to your dog to sniff it's backside. A strange greeting I know, but I believe in the canine world it's common practice.
I saw you looked uncomfortable with the dogs greeting so I called the dog away.and we went elsewhere.
10 minutes later I heard a shout 'not a f***ing gain!' I looked over and there was my black dog (who will remain nameless) again trying to sniff your dogs backside. I walked over and you were shouting 'put your dog on the lead' and other such things.
We then got into an argument and at no point did you tell me that your dog was scared because it had been bitten before.
I've met people before with scared dogs because they've been bitten and it has always been fine. I have called the dog away or put it on a lead and we parted company on good terms.
So maybe it's your attitude or stress levels which you need to sort out as you appear to have problems.
If it wasn't you who I encountered I apologise for this comment
Fido

NAT said...

There is a prohibition on dogs off their leads in Brockley Cemetery.Thats why it's virtually dog free.

J Humphries said...

If you're the curly-headed fellow with the jack russell and smart attitude then it was me your dog molested. My attempt to draw your attention to your dog "pleasuring" itself against my trouser leg of my suit (I was on my way to the office) seemed only to elicit hoots of mirth from you, a so-called "responsible" dog-walker. I'm sorry but I fail to see the humour in a £7.50 dry-cleaning bill that this very un-amusing encounter resulted in.

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