Funding of fence inside park

Dog walkers in Higham Ferrers are angry that town's council could be bringing in a new order to make them put their dogs on leads at all times at Saffron Road recreational park.

Dog walkers in Higham Ferrers are angry that town's council could be bringing in a new order to make them put their dogs on leads at all times at Saffron Road recreational park.

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An order by a town council to force dog walkers to keep their pets on leads at a recreation ground has sparked anger from residents.

Under the order made by Higham Ferrers Town Council, dogs will have to be kept on leads when they enter the Saffron Road Recreation Ground in the town.

Resident Nicola Johnson, of Larkin Gardens, Higham Ferrers, said she was “furious” at the way people have been treated by the council.

She said: “We have been treated badly by the council and they have not listened to any of the people against it, and there are a lot of us.”

Mrs Johnson started a petition from dog walkers in the area and had managed to gain 208 signatures in a short period and she was sure that they could have got more.

The petition has been handed to the council, but Mrs Johnson feels the needs and wants of local dog owners have been ignored.

She said: “I cannot believe that the town council is ignoring us.

“It is taking into account the views of a minority when the majority of us are clearly against the order.”

The town council has said that the park has a problem with dog mess and they have had to impose the order for health and safety issues because the ground is used by schoolchildren and sports teams.

A council spokesman said: “The specified area is used by the local junior and infants school for PE lessons as well as sports day, Higham Ferrers Cricket Club for matches and youth coaching as well as the ECB for schools cricket coaching.

“The town council frequently receives complaints about dog fouling in this area, as well as dogs following their natural instincts and chasing balls when coaching is under way, which does frighten the children.

“Dog fouling brings with it all sorts of health risks including the possibility of toxocariasis, particularly in children, which can cause blindness.”

The council added that they believe the order was a compromise between the needs of different users of that area, as an area used for sports would normally have a complete exlusion zone for dogs.

Mrs Johnson has said that the dog owners who are against the order will continue to fight it.

They plan to protest on the cricket pitch with their dogs, the next time a game is played.