David Gandy Joins Campaign to End Dog Leash Rules in Richmond and Bushy Parks
odel David Gandy has joined an army of dog lovers who are trying to overturn a three-month ban on allowing their pets to run free in two of London’s Royal Parks.
New rules at Richmond and Bushy Parks, both located in southwest London, state that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times for 13 weeks from May 4 to August 2.
A temporary ban – introduced in most years – has been implemented previously to protect deer from birth. But the period 2021 is twice as long as last year.
The move follows a number of dog attacks in recent months.
However, thousands of dog lovers, including the British model, who in a Battersea Dogs & Cats Home ambassador and owns a rescue dog named Dora, have criticized the ban.
Gandy runs regularly with his Yorkshire Terrier, Dora, in Richmond Park and he used Twitter to post support for a petition opposing the new rules, which has already attracted more than 2,000 signatories in just a few days.
He wrote: “Richmond Park has banned dogs from being on a leash in the 3,500 acres of Richmond and Bushy Park. Yes it is important to protect wildlife, but it has gone from a 6 week ban last year to 3 months in 2021. There are better solutions and punishes responsible dog owners. “
The blanket ban has sparked a social media war with supporters claiming deer safety is paramount.
In contrast, dog owners criticized it as a “parody”. Many dog lovers have been driven from parks with businesses, such as cafes, in the surrounding area that are now suffering.
The Change.org website petition titled “Allow Dogs OFF driven in Bushy & Richmond Park” was posted by photographer Tamra Cave, who said she accepted it to be an emotional issue.
She said there had been around 90 reports of dogs hunting deer in the two parks for a year and around five deaths as a result.
Against this, there are 365,000 dog walks in the parks and authorities slaughter around 90 deer each year to control the numbers.
“This new regulation uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” she said.
“Keeping a dog on a leash all the time in a park is like giving a toy to a child and saying you can’t play with it.
“We all need to work together as animal and park lovers to enjoy the park and keep everyone safe – deer, dogs, children, cyclists and runners.
“Deer breeding areas can be marked on maps to be avoided and dogs kept on a leash around these areas. We never needed to keep dogs on a leash until last year, when the restrictions were mostly on Covid. “
Louise Rawlinson, who is a dog trainer and runs the Paws for Coffee cafe in Hampton Hill, just yards from an entrance to Bushy Park, said the new rules had devastated her recipes.
“The new rules have greatly affected my business. We have already fallen by half, ”she says.
“Of course I respect the deer and the rules… but I would suggest that we have an area where dogs can enter.
“It’s going to affect the High Street and if it happens every year – from May to August – I don’t know if I’m going to survive this.
“There is no support. We don’t know how long we’ll be able to survive if they keep applying these stupid rules.
Simon Richards, park manager for Richmond Park, explained the controls by saying; “During deer calving season, we strongly recommend that you do not walk dogs in Richmond or Bushy parks, but if this is not possible, dogs should be on a leash in all areas of the parks.
“Females are afraid that dogs will harm their young. Worrying about their newborn means that they can act defensively towards dogs – they are known to chase and attack them, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively.
“Dog walkers should remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park. As a dog owner I know it can be frustrating, but it’s really for the safety of deer and dogs. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and thank all our visitors for their support in these measures. “
It comes after a man was fined £ 602 in January after his dog fatally injured a deer in a ‘relentless’ attack in Richmond Park.
Dramatic footage filmed by a cyclist shows Franck Hiribarne’s red passer, Alfie, rushing over the little doe, hopping on it and dragging it back.
Tory MP Danny Kruger has been accused of allowing his Jack Russell to hunt deer in Richmond Park.
The 46-year-old MP for Devizes, Wiltshire is due in court later this month in connection with an incident in March. He was due to appear on bail today in Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, but the case was adjourned in his absence until May 24.
He is accused that on March 20 in Richmond Park, without written permission from the Secretary of State, he allowed his dog Jack Russell to hunt, worry or injure a large herd of deer.
In November, a frightened group of fallow deer nearly stomped on a photographer after being whisked off by an off-leash puppy.
The dramatic incident was captured by photographer Max Ellis. In September, he took pictures of a small French bulldog facing a deer.
“I’ve seen dogs hunt deer several times. It is natural for dogs to hunt deer and poorly trained animals find them irresistible, ”he said.