With reference to Katrina Doble's letter (Letters September 12) regarding dogs allowed by their owners to walk off lead on the public highway, it is my experience that this is more of a problem in the public parks.

My own concerns arise both out of my experience as a runner trying to run around Norman Park for exercise a few times a week and as a father of two small children who regularly play in the park.

When out running around the park, I am constantly harassed by dogs off lead snapping at my heels or launching more serious attacks in packs.

When out with my children cycling in the park, they too are often bothered/attacked by snapping dogs.

On other occasions they have been knocked off their feet by dogs out of control, fighting or playing in packs (on one occasion my 4 year old was badly hurt).

In addition to this, it is clear from the state of the park that only the minority of dog owners use the bins pro-vided for dog mess.

Dog owners know of their responsibilities to keep their dogs under proper control and prevent them from fouling the park.

However, all too often I only encounter an arrogant disregard on their part for the safety of others and their right to comfortable and convenient enjoyment of the park.

If, as seems the case, dog owners are unable to act responsibly and with regard for other park users, then the local authority have a responsibility to address this issue.

At the very least there should be notices by park gates reminding dog owners of their responsibilities but I believe there should be better policing of the parks.

At best, incidences of the nature I describe above consti-tute a public nuisance, at worst more serious offences are committed under the Dangerous Dogs Act which provides, amongst other things, that “a dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure a person, whether or not it actually does so ” Clearly, dogs off lead and out of control will create that apprehension and dog owners need to be made aware of this, act accordingly and show some consideration for other park users.

John Denbigh

Pope Road