Bite victim calls for dog walking limits in Nonsuch Park
A nature lover has called on the council to crack down on professional dog walkers after he was attacked by one of a pack of canines in a popular park.
Denis Fenton, 73, was leading a group of walkers in Nonsuch Park when he was confronted with two professional dog walkers who were in charge of 20 dogs between them - including a Doberman and Alsatians - last Wednesday.
The Doberman broke away from the rest of the group and attacked Mr Fenton, biting him on his hand. The dog walkers did not apologise and even suggested the incident was the walkers' fault.
Guided walk leader Mr Fenton, of Park Avenue East in Stoneleigh, is calling on Sutton Council to limit the numbers of dogs people are allowed to walk at any one time.
He said: "There were two people with about 20 dogs between them. They were running all over the place.
"I made a point of not looking at them but this dog just came up and jumped at me and bit me on the hand.
"I pulled my hand away and fortunately there was only a slight mark.
"The dog walkers were unconcerned. I told one of the women to keep the dogs under control and she just shouted 'keep your walkers under control' back. We're not a rowdy group.
"What I'm concerned about is that these dogs were just running around loose. These were professional dog walkers but they were not in control. There should be a limit on the number of dogs they can have.
"This dog was a Doberman. If I had been a child it could have been very dangerous. They weren't little dogs."
Sutton Council has no rules on the number of dogs individuals, professional or otherwise, can walk at a time.
Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of the environment and neighbourhood committee, said: "We are proud of our green and open spaces in Sutton and welcome the fact they are enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
"As a public space we ask people to respect other park users and this includes those walking dogs.
"We have rules in place that say dogs must be kept on the lead around areas such as children’s playgrounds for safety reasons.
"However, we do ask that all dog owners and walkers maintain control of their animals across the whole park - and indeed the borough - and advise them to keep them on the lead wherever possible."
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