SIR: After multiple incidents with dogs and irresponsible owners in Winchester over the past few months, I feel compelled to write to you in the hope of raising awareness and encouraging people to be more considerate.

Dogs. At times it feels like those of us who don’t own one (or more!) are in the minority in Winchester. They are everywhere.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with dogs, but I do take issue with irresponsible owners.

It might be difficult for some to comprehend, but dogs can be intimidating for children and adults, too. Yes, even the small, fluffy fashionable ones.

On several occasions my three year old son and I have been accosted by dogs let loose and out of control by their owners. Left covered in mud and, in the worst instance, on the floor with a dog on top of him, my terrified child.

Accidents happen, I get it. But, perhaps, more disturbing has been the reaction of these dog owners. No apology and zero effort made to regain control of their animal.

Typically, these encounters have been made on public footpaths at or near River Park when dogs should be on a lead and under control, and families free to walk without being intimidated.

Secondly, the age old problem of dog fouling. A popular trend seems to be joggers with dogs – headphones in and seemingly unaware that their animal has left a fresh poo in their wake and carrying on their merry way. Get outside. Be healthy and enjoy the fresh air. But take some responsibility and don’t spoil it for the rest of us.

Our parks and open spaces are there to be enjoyed by all – even more so during this latest period of lockdown. So, please:

  • Control your dog;
  • Clean up after your dog;
  • Be considerate.

Nick Pearse,

Francis Gardens,

Abbotts Barton