Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dog owners warned about 'nervous people' in Edinburgh parks

Harlaw Reservoir in the Pentland Hills Regional Park Image copyright Pentland Hills Regional Park
Image caption The most recorded dog walker place in the Pentland Hills is Harlaw

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets on a lead or under close control in Edinburgh parks.

Rangers want to protect people who are nervous around dogs, amid complaints that too many of the animals are being let off their leads.

Signs have been put up in the city to remind pet owners of laws which protect against "dogs causing concern to others".

The move was welcomed by a professional dog walker in the capital.

'Truly upsetting'

Susan Dickson, senior natural heritage officer at the City of Edinburgh Council, told the BBC Scotland news website she had received complaints from members of the public concerned there were too many dogs off leads in Edinburgh's parks.

She said: "It's dogs running and bouncing at people because they are excited to be outside that can be scary for people.

"We get a lot of 'it's just interested in your food' comments from dog owners but they have to understand that some people are nervous of dogs and do not want them running at them or jumping on them.

"Nervous people are not just being silly and should not be palmed off as it's truly upsetting for them and some dog owners seem to forget this."

Dog owners should be mindful of nervous people and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, Ms Dickson added.

"The dog should be on a lead or at heel," she said. "There are fields in East Lothian and Midlothian which are managed solely for dogs to run about off the lead.

"Our parks are used by a wide range of people, families, older people, disabled people, runners, who do not want dogs bounding up to them."

'Mindful of others'

Jose Batista, owner of professional dog walking company, Canonmills Canines Dog Walking Edinburgh, said: "I welcome these signs because there is also the problem of dogs off leads running at my dogs who are on leads.

"I have nervous dogs and ones who have been attacked before and all their training is ruined by one incident of a dog off the lead running at them.

"I don't think dog owners are doing it on purpose, it's just that they are not being mindful of others. It's a question of education and therefore I would definitely welcome these signs."

Jane MacDonald, 55, from Edinburgh, said: "I was in Morningside Park in Edinburgh with my cousin when this angry dog came running towards me and I froze.

"I couldn't do anything because I was so scared and I thought it was going to attack me and it would be the end of me.

"All I could see was its eyes and its teeth and it was slathering at me. It got within inches of me before its owner could get it and I was left very shaken.

"Parks are now over run with dogs off leads and they are taking over, it's very upsetting."

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