Dogs running wild on reserve

Large numbers of dogs are said to be roaming loose at Fleetwood Marsh nature reserve in Fleetwood.
Large numbers of dogs are said to be roaming loose at Fleetwood Marsh nature reserve in Fleetwood.

Concerns have been raised that some professional dog walkers are taking advantage of a legal loophole and allowing large numbers of dogs to roam free on a Fleetwood nature reserve.

There are fears someone might be hurt at Fleetwood Marsh amenity, amid claims that a baby was knocked out of its pram by an excited dog.

Fleetwood Town Council member, Coun Norah Stuchfield.

Fleetwood Town Council member, Coun Norah Stuchfield.

Currently there are dog enforcement orders in place at Wyre-run open spaces, such as the Wyre Estuary County Park, which decree that the number of dogs any person can be in control of in a public place is four. The order also states that people are “required to put dogs back on the lead if requested”.

But the Fleetwood Marsh site, off Jameson Road, is owned and run by Lancashire County Council which does not apply the “four dog” rule.

Residents say some professional walkers are allowing between five and 13 dogs to run free at the reserve, which is causing concern to others using the reserve.

One Fleetwood man, who did not wish to be named, said: “Some of these dog walkers turn up in unmarked vans. “Allowing all these dogs loose is not really on in a public area like that - I have heard that a baby was knocked from a pram.”

The matter was also raised at a Fleetwood Town Council meeting.

Coun Norah Stuchfield told the meeting: “People have complained that large groups of dogs are being allowed to roam free off the lead and there are concerns for families.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’re aware of the problems caused by the use of Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve to exercise large numbers of dogs, and are exploring measures to control the issue.

“Our countryside service manager is due to meet officers of Wyre Council this week to discuss the issue.

“The nature reserve is there for everyone to enjoy, including people with dogs, however we would encourage dog walkers to be responsible, and consider other users.”