Dogs to get ASBOS

March 20th, 2012 | by Susannah Butter

Lorry driver Dave Baine, 36, says: "I get a lot of grief from other dog-owners about my dog because of his size but Harry wouldn't hurt a fly. It's the small, yappy dogs that aren't kept on their leads that are the problem."

First there were ASBOs for hoodies; now doggies are getting anti-social behaviour orders of their very own – “dog control orders”.

This comes after reports from terrified locals of Staffordshire bull terriers trying to attack kids in their prams.

From 1 April man’s best friend will be banned from Hackney’s outdoor play areas and sport grounds while aggressive or out-of-control mutts will be forced to wear leads.

Dog-owners will also be stopped from exercising their pooches off-lead on all roads, as well as in churchyards, small parks and shared areas of housing estates, following complaints from frightened residents.

Tracy Hiscoke, a 44-year-old childminder who lives in Victoria, said: “The new orders are a good idea. I know a few people who have had Staffs trying to attack their tots – they’re dangerous.”

And Claudia Wieberzjke, 37, who lives on the Arden Estate, agreed that the new control orders are long overdue. The full-time mum and owner of a blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier said: “It’s right that dogs should be kept on leads in public places – a lot of kids are scared of them. “My dog Shady’s very friendly though – I never worry about my little girl with him. Staffs get a bad rep but it’s the owners who are to blame for training them up to be aggressive.”

Any owners caught breaking the new doggie “ASBOs” could be forced to pay an on-the-spot charge by Hackney council or one of its partners and even end up in court if they refuse to pay.

Sophie Linden – Hackney council cabinet member for crime, sustainability and customer services – said she understands the pleasure that owning a dog can bring: “We know that most dog owners in Hackney are responsible and control their dogs in public. But a small minority of people are behaving irresponsibly and by not keeping their dogs under control.

“These new powers will send a strong message that dogs must not be allowed to behave in a way that causes problems for the local community.”

But pooch-lover and florist, Stephanie Ferguson, 19, said she thought the council’s new laws were “silly”.

The proud owner of three dogs – Merlin the Labrador, Sugsy the Jack Russell French Bulldog cross and Louis the Yorkshire Terrier – said: “People know their dogs and know whether they should be on leads or not.

“My dogs are always getting shouted at for running in front of bikes but if a child ran in front of the bike you wouldn’t blame the child would you? These things happen.”

Hackney Homes are also pushing through a tougher line on dangerous dogs. They want to change the tenancy agreement to ban pitbulls and Staffordshire Terriers from council flats.

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