Dog owners defy wintry weather to stage protest walk in park

Disgruntled dog walkers in Wallace Park, Lisburn on Sunday, March 4 demonstrating their opposition to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's proposed Dog Control Orders 2018. Photo by Simon Graham Photography
Disgruntled dog walkers in Wallace Park, Lisburn on Sunday, March 4 demonstrating their opposition to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council's proposed Dog Control Orders 2018. Photo by Simon Graham Photography

Around 60 local dog owners and their pets defied the freezing weather on Sunday to stage a protest walk in Lisburn’s Wallace Park.

The disgruntled dog owners were highlighting their opposition to proposed Dog Control Orders, which could restrict where dogs are permitted off-lead in the park at certain times of year.

Around 60 dog owners and their pets turned out for the protest walk in Wallace Park on Sunday, despite the wintry weather. Photo by Simon Graham Photography

Around 60 dog owners and their pets turned out for the protest walk in Wallace Park on Sunday, despite the wintry weather. Photo by Simon Graham Photography

Those behind the ‘Lisburn is Barking Mad’ campaign claim Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s proposals are “restrictive” and “blatant discrimination” against responsible pet owners.

One of the campaign organisers, who didn’t want to be named, described Sunday’s turnout as “pretty good given the bad weather” and stressed that more than 600 people have signed petitions opposing the proposals for Wallace Park.

“We already have 300 signatures on the hard copy and more than 300 on the online one (on the change.org website), but we will continue to collect them until we hand over the petition to the council on March 15,” the woman said.

“The response to the petitions shows that this is an issue concerning a lot of people. This is a petition for one particular area, but the council is proposing restrictions in 47 locations across the Lisburn and Castlereagh area.”

The council has stressed that no decisions on its proposed Dog Control Orders - including a possible move to ban dogs from the pitches in Wallace Park during the football season (September - April) - have yet been made.

A period of public consultation continues until March 15 and all local residents are being urged to make their opinions known by logging on to www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/resident/dog-control-service/dog-control-order-consultation

• Read related story - Dog owners accuse council of ‘discrimination’ over proposed park restrictions