Pensioner hits out at dog owners after Edenvilla incident
A PORTADOWN pensioner has called on dog owners to be more responsible after an incident in Edenvilla Park last Thursday left her shaken.
Eileen Lynn (77) says she had to fend off a Golden Retriever which confronted her and her Chihuahua.
The pensioner believes it is time that dog owners kept their pets on the lead.
“I was in Edenvilla Park when I saw a woman across the way with a Golden Retriever. She let the dog off the lead and it came charging at me. I lifted my dog into my arms as quick as I could and the retriever pounded at me,” explained Eileen.
“The owner couldn’t control her dog. She had to drag it off me and she shouted ‘oh sorry I didn’t see you there’. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t see me or not as it is still against the law to let your dog loose in a park.”
Ms Lynn says it took her some time to get over the shock of the incident.
“I was so shaken up afterwards. I didn’t have time to get her name and number, I just wanted to get home. I’m still not over it. I had mud all over my clothes from the dog pounding at me. It used me like a trampoline. It just kept pounding at me.”
Eileen, who lives in the Carrickblacker Fold, rang the council’s dog warden after the attack, leaving her contact details but by Monday afternoon claimed no-one had returned her call.
The pensioner claims she has seen as many as up to eight dogs at one time running loose around the park. It is an issue she describes as getting “out of control”.
She claims she was also confronted by a St. Bernard dog just two weeks before this incident and is concerned about the safety of other park users.
“I’m a tall woman so I can take it sometimes but there are a lot of elderly and frail people who go to that park. They might not get off so easily,” she said.
Ms Lynn also accused some dog owners of turning a blind eye to the legislation in place.
“Owners need to take responsibilty. Not only are dogs running loose but they’re fouling everywhere. That’s two laws broken.” she said.
As it stands, it is against the law in Northern Ireland not to clean up dog faeces under The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2011. If dog owners fail to clean up their dogs’ mess they may be given an on the spot fine of up to £80. Under the Dogs Act 2011 it is a punishable offence if a dog owner can’t keep their pet under control, this can include leashing requirements in public parks. Your dog does not need to bite someone for you to have committed an offence. The punishment can be up to six months imprisonment and a fine of £5,000.
Ms Lynn claims that dog owners need to take more responsibilty when bringing their pets out in public.
“There are a lot of dogs running loose in the park and it is against the law. I saw eight running around last week,” she added. “Owners don’t know where the dogs are fouling. My son-in-law went to the park with the dogs a few days after I was attacked and he actually approached an owner who had let their dog loose. He explained that it was illegal to let your dog roam free in a public park but the dog owner was rather rude to him.”
A council spokeswoman said the dog warden returned Eileen’s call on Monday and pledged that they would increasing patrols in the park.
“We understand that a golden retriever dog was let off the lead in Edenvilla Park and jumped up on this lady. However, as the lady herself has explained she has a small dog which she carries while walking, this may explain why the retriever jumped up on her.
“She, fortunately, was able to stand up against the dogs’ strength, but still this is not acceptable.”
She added, “Council would ask that all dog owners be careful with their dogs who may become enthusiastic when off the lead.”
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