Warning to keep dogs on leads in Stanley Park as council says attacks on wildlife being taken seriously

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Irresponsible dog owners have been warned council chiefs are taking attacks on wildlife in Blackpool’s Stanley Park seriously with all owners urged to keep their pets on leads.

Owners have been warned exercising their pets off the lead around the lake, children’s playgrounds and some of the gardens in the park is already banned.

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It comes after the second fatal swan attack this year saw well-loved swan Doris having to be put to sleep after a suspected dog attack in September left her with her shoulder ripped out of the joint and a wing fracture.

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Fatally injured swan Doris with her mate Boris (picture by Elizabeth Gomm)Fatally injured swan Doris with her mate Boris (picture by Elizabeth Gomm)
Fatally injured swan Doris with her mate Boris (picture by Elizabeth Gomm)

A council consultation has just been completed including into the potential use of public space protection orders.

Coun Jane Hugo, cabinet member for climate change which includes open spaces, told a meeting of the full council residents’ concerns “had been heard”.

She added: “I don’t have a crystal ball but I am expected there will be overall support for encouraging responsible dog ownership to help avoid incidents where dogs are causing harm to other dogs, humans and wildlife.

“Whilst we have CCTV and we may introduce public space protection orders, it would be impossible to police this 24 hours, seven days a week.

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Stanley Park lakeStanley Park lake
Stanley Park lake

“So we really are asking residents to co-operate and help us ensure that dogs are kept under control.”

Coun Shaun Brookes, whose Marton ward includes the park, said many residents had contacted him following the latest attack .

He said: “It is clearly an important and emotive issue for residents, and I want everyone to know we are taking it seriously.

“The Doris attack is not the first this year. We have also had Jesse a swan alongside several other lake birds that have been injured while the consultation has been running.

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“The rules of the park already state dogs should be on leads around the open water, as well as near the play areas and some of the gardens.

“That just seems like reasonable common sense to me given those are the areas where they are most likely to come into contact with wild animals, small children and other pets.

“All users should be able to enjoy our park and until your dog has encountered a frightened or threatened wild animal or another animal on a lead, there is no real indication of how they may instinctively respond.

“So I know there is further action to come on this but we are really addressing this as an important issue. In the meantime please everybody keep your dogs on the lead by the lake.”

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Blackpool resident Elizabeth Gomm, who regularly photographs wildlife in the park, told the local democracy reporting service: “This year there have been five dog attacks on wildlife in Stanley Park, all of which could have been avoided.

“Brambles Wildlife Rescue – voluntarily run by two dedicated people who both have full times jobs, in their own time – is campaigning tirelessly for dog owners to keep their dogs on leads near wildlife and for rangers to enforce the rules.”

She added: “Our wildlife is precious and swans indeed are a protected species. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to preserve our planet and the wild creatures that live upon it. They make our world a better place, they lift our spirits and enter our hearts.”

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