London

Hampstead Heath dog numbers could be capped

Dogs being walked
Image caption The orders will put a cap on the number of dogs one person can handle

The number of dogs walkers can bring on to Hampstead Heath could be capped under proposed control orders.

The City of London Corporation said as the park had grown in popularity with dog walkers it had received complaints of "packs of dogs" scaring residents.

The orders could see an upper limit of six dogs per person imposed on the professional and individual dog walkers that regularly visit the park.

A consultation with dog walkers and users of the heath has been planned.

'Distressing' complaints

The corporation, which looks after several green spaces in London, said it was also concerned about the damage to the environment caused by dog fouling, which contaminates the soil.

If introduced, the control orders would also require dog owners and walkers to remove dog faeces, with a formal warning being the most likely punishment for offenders.

The corporation hopes to get permission from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to impose the control order.

Michael Welbank, deputy chairman of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee, said: "I find it distressing when a mother comes to me saying that she doesn't want to take her daughter to the heath because they feel intimidated by packs of dogs.

"We want to make Hampstead Heath a place enjoyed by everybody that goes on it."

The City of London Corporation are also developing a so-called Dog Behaviour Code to standardise dog control across all the open spaces that fall within the City.

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