Parks and Councils Attack on People and Dogs

Parks and Councils Attack on People and Dogs

Authoritarian Dog Rules in Bushy and Richmond Park Plus Other Areas  Across the UK

Puppy playing in the park

Bureaucratic Hysteria: Although this article is primarily related to Bushy and Richmond Park it appears to be true of local councils, parks, and amenities around the whole of the UK.

They all seem to be suffering from some sort of bureaucratic mass hysteria against dogs their owners and the general public that visit these parks.

They have used the pandemic to flex their administrative muscles on the many thousands that visit these fabulous parks daily.

I believe they look at the public as cash cows or just a nuisance that invades their little fiefdoms and quangos.

New Charity Elected: This mindset seems to coincide with the formation of a new controlling body with charitable status which was officially launched in July of 2017 to support and manage 5,000 acres of Royal parkland across London.

The Chairman of this new board is Loyd Grossman CBE.  Yes, the one that presented through the keyhole and an early Masterchef and he markets numerous sauces for cooking.

He also wrote a book called The Dog’s Tale. I cannot see any record of him owning a dog. He clearly does not understand them or he would not have allowed the Royal Parks to force dogs to be on leads for the next four months.

 It appears that this charity aided by a new royal parks management team has been waging a war on dog owners and visitors since its inception 4 years ago.

They have used the current pandemic crisis to push through unacceptable rules and controls that affect every single person that visits these wonderful places. It is now time we rallied together to stop this imposition on our freedoms, rights and daily lives,

Other things that have changed since this new charity and management team arrived include car parks being closed during the week and only open at weekends, banning through traffic down Chestnut Avenue the main road from Hampton Court to Teddington causing countless traffic jams in all the local areas.

They have recently put marshalls on the gates stopping people from getting in by saying the Car Parks are full. Yet I have been driving out from a car park that is half empty whilst they are turning people away.

They even closed all car parks and banned cars last year for months. Those actions effectively closed the parks down at a time when the Government was saying the complete; opposite. How can a charity have this power and who voted them in?

I cannot see any reason for any of these impositions other than a gradual mission creep to remove the general public and especially dog owners whom I believe these bureaucrats perceive as a general nuisance. I now believe that what they doing is illegal on a number of fronts and I will be sending a number of freedom of information requests.

I would also ask if they have received a certificate from the Secretary of State to enact these far-reaching and draconian rules, and what research they have done on the impact on local businesses their decisions may cause? Businesses are reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

These idiots have now decimated the remaining businesses by a massive drop in  revenue created by ill-thought and frankly stupid rules that have clearly not taken into consideration the impact on the dogs their owners and the businesses that pay the taxes to the local councils and to the parks

They cannot even agree on the birthing dates. This was last year

Birthing Season Errors: Last year Richmond and Bushy Park banned dogs off leads initially using the Covid 19 pandemic as the catalyst.

They then added the birthing season for the first time as a further reason to force dogs to be on the lead this was until the 6th of July.  You can clearly see in the picture I took at the time that the birthing season was until 6th July. Why is it this year until August 2nd?

Now in 2022, they have altered the date again by a derisory 2 days they have put July 31st, 25 more days of agony for the dogs and the local businesses than all published data on deer management and birthing. 

Has Covid 19  suddenly extended the birthing season or could it be global warming, please explain how the pandemic changed the breeding season of Royal Park deer? 

All their pages about deer say July 6th. and last year’s poster says the same (1) Birthing Season. If you are going to lie at least match your pages to corroborate that lie. 

They really are treating their visitors as mugs, the same mugs who pay taxes on 35% of the upkeep of the park. That decision last year caused immense psychological and physical problems for many dogs for a number of reasons that I will cover later in this article.

Alternative Options? Looking at the map above, the orange shaded areas make up less than half the total space, Nearly 2/3rds is outside the areas where fawns normally rest

Therefore, would it not be logical to. section the park into dogs off the lead but under control areas where there are no fawns, rather than take a sledgehammer to crack a nut  The map of Richmond Park has very similar shaded and safe areas.

That means the deer and fawns are safe and the dogs will not be traumatised and mentally and physically impaired by the Park’s actions. A simple Win-Win situation.

They already have areas around the ponds and skylark nesting areas this is patrolled by Volunteer Rangers and areas indicating signposts. Why not do the same for dogs?

By Richmond and Bushy park’s own admission, there is only a very small number of young fawns being attacked each year. Let me put that into context.

There are two legal killings of Deer in both of these parks, they are called culls. These happen every year in September and November in Bushy and November and February in Richmond.

Between 2013 and 2018 in both parks 1,674 Red and Fallow Deer were killed, which is an average of 335 per year.

Why do they have to cull them? Quite simply because there are far too many of them. The meat is not wasted it is sold to a high-class game dealer called Ben Rigby Game Ltd.

White Fallow Buck Taken By Me in Bushey 2016

The Parks made £250.000 from those sales. If there are too many deer and they have to shoot hundreds a year, does that not defeat their argument somewhat?

Having said that, I am not attacking the park management because of the cull, which is sensible animal management.

To have too many deer in these parks or our woods is counterproductive to the deer’s health.

The Park and the gamekeeper do an excellent job with the two herds of Fallow and Red Deer they manage

However, if we allow this imposition to happen in Royal Parks we will probably see our ability to properly exercise our pets in many other areas such as the woods and the countryside curtailed by faceless quangos. 

That is why I believe mission creep will happen, one group, does it and the other follows suit. A perfect example of this is Home Park at the back of Hampton Court. They are not a Royal Park but they have deer. and they followed suit last. year.

I have lived in this area since leaving the armed forces in 1972. During that time the Royal Parks have never brought in a ban on dogs off lead. In reality, there has never been a ban so why now?

Dogs Badly Traumatised: I believe many thousands of dogs will be seriously affected by not being allowed the freedom they are normally used to. they will see confinement on a lead as punishment.

They are pack animals and need to have the company and choice of meeting and greeting other dogs. To watch their joy and body language when they can fulfil their drives and instincts is something to behold

In fact without integration with people and other dogs they will never be able to function properly. if denied this freedom to integrate,

This is especially relevant in the first 16 weeks of their life. Without that freedom, we will create a generation of dogs with psychological and physical behaviours. See (3)

Dogs The First 16 Weeks.

All puppies have a number of critical periods during the first 16 weeks of their life. The period up to 12 weeks is the human socialisation period and up to 16 weeks is the canine socialisation period. If that does not happen then you will have serious behavioural problems with those dogs for the remainder of their lives.

Most cases of aggression, reactivity, fear, timidity and behavioural issues are created during these critical periods. Recall for instance is permanent if set before 16 weeks. Puppies playing rough and tumble play with other puppies teaches them body language, bite inhibition and to accept other dogs outside their own group. How are you going to teach any of these requirements if they are forced to be on a lead?

Dogs Off Lead Meeting and Greeting Bushy Park

Sentience in Dogs: During the pandemic, the ownership of dogs has increased dramatically it has been stated that there are 3.5 million more dog owners than before the pandemic. That means well over 10 million dog owners in the UK.

In the queen’s speech radical changes to animal welfare were announced.

These changes affect how we view certain animals and particularly dogs which are to be recognised as sentient. This will be part of sweeping changes under the Animal Welfare Bill.

Specifically, this bill would require the Government and organisations to take into account animal sentience in their policy decisions. Therefore, bureaucratic rules affecting animals’ mental and physical health must be taken into account as policy decisions can affect their wellbeing.

I would like to know what advice this charity sought or received from animal and welfare organisations and behaviour professionals, before bringing in these drastic rules?

 Did they seek advice from behavioural experts, if so what did that advice suggest? did they ignore that advice and go ahead thinking that they can do anything they want because the general public is currently malleable and frightened because of Covid?

Did they take into account the dramatic effect on businesses in and around the park? High street shops are already reeling from the measures brought in because of covid 19. These ill-thought-out draconian rules have effectively reduced the footfall by 30% around the park, and businesses already in financial problems may go under.

I have campaigned for many years for companion animals to be recognised as sentient and for dog theft to be classed as a specific crime rather than currently classed as petty theft. (2) Sentience and Dog Theft Campaign.  It is clear that my petition has had some impact and has helped get that message across by what happened in the queen’s speech. It currently has almost 530.000 signatures.

Why is it that bureaucratic jobsworths come out of the woodwork at times like this? They revel in procedure, ignoring common sense. The government have clearly indicated what should happen to parks and open spaces “They Should Stay Open and Accessible”.

What did Bushy and Richmond Park do? They shut their car parks forcing people to go into small local parks to exercise both themselves and their dogs

This totally illogical move forced thousands of people to go elsewhere, which meant these small parks and grassy areas were vastly overcrowded at a time when the opposite was required. Clearly not thought through, and not what one would call “joined-up thinking”.

Why Have The Parks Closed This Road Causing Congestion Around Bushy Park

When they finally reopened they had brought in lots of other restrictions and controls, some I mentioned earlier like the through road closed.

Our Councils and Parks are run by people who believe if the system is not harsh enough already they will add further restrictions because it suits their mentality, rather than it being realistic, required or sensible.

On top of all the other harsh measures, they are now going to bring in a parking charge of £1.40 per hour during weekdays and £2.00 per hour at weekends.

They ignored the outcry from the people that use the park and passed this motion and are now just awaiting Government sanction. I will add that to the petition as well.

I think we must all get together and overthrow this charity and its plans, we must petition against these heavy-handed recommendations. Talk about kicking when we are down.

Haven’t the local businesses and the people that use this park suffered enough at the hands of these bureaucrats. I am certain this outbreak of what I can only describe as rank stupidity is not peculiar to just my neighbourhood or local areas.

I am sure that we all have councils and petty officials with the same mentality and inability to think through the cause and effect of their actions. However, we can vote these out, how do we vote the quangos that the likes of Loyd Grossman belong to?

I will agree that not all dogs are under control, but the vast majority are. By all means, punish the transgressors the ones whose dogs worry or chase deer. A minimum fine of £1000 for a first offence and a ban from the park would do the trick. But why punish the majority for the action of a very few.

There are approximately 5.6 million people who visit Richmond Park and 2.8 million at Bushy. The percentage of Deer worrying is infinitesimal next to the 8.4 million total for both parks

One of the worst acts of cruelty is to deny any animal freedom to express its natural instincts and shackle it to a lead for months on end that is animal cruelly in anybody’s language.

In fact, it is actually a lawful requirement to allow animals in your care the freedom to express their natural drives and instincts and to be able to meet and greet others of their own kind.

This is from the five freedoms from the 2006 Animal Welfare Act

(4) Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and the company of the animal’s own kind.

To insist dogs must be walked only on leads shows a woeful ignorance of dogs’ mental health requirements. These actions will create physical and mental stress on dogs used to freedom and greeting and meeting other dogs and proper exercise.

New puppies will never get the socialisation they need and will not learn and understand recall if they cannot have an element of freedom in places like Bushy and Richmond Parks. These Royal Parks are crown property not the plaything of unelected quangos.

It is obvious the start of the downfall of these Royal Parks was the forming of an unelected Charity In 2017, that took over the role of managing the parks from The Royal Parks Agency who had previously done a sterling job. This group are an unmitigated disaster.

As well as The Royal Parks Charity, there is a further tier of management and this is run by Andrew Scattergood the Chief Executivehis email address is [email protected]

The parks are owned by the Crown with their responsibility resting with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, her name is The Rt Hon Nadine Dorries her email address is [email protected] The Royal Parks charity manages the parks on behalf of the government

To this end, I have decided to start a petition against all local councils and the authoritarian quangos that punish the people across the UK by bringing in rules and regulations that directly affect the people, businesses, dogs and their owners that use or rely on these facilities. (1)  Petition Please Sign

In many places, including Bushy and Richmond Park, visitors pay taxes towards their upkeep. We are paying to be abused by people that clearly have not thought through their authoritarian actions

Stan Rawlinson
Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer

Campaigner, Author, Expert Witness, Banned Breed Assessor, and Lecturer in Dog Behaviour.

June 2021

(1)  Petition Please Sign

(2) Birthing Season.

(3) Dogs The First 16 Weeks.

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