There was a dire warning this week that a pleasant walk with your dog around Lanark Loch could quickly turn into a tragedy.
While many see large dogs as being more dangerous than smaller ones, it is the irresponsible owners of the latter breeds who would be responsible for an incident at the lochside leading to child being savaged or an innocent animal being destoyed.
So claims Mrs Kathleen Hogg of Douglas who often visits the loch to walk her large dogs with friends and their animals.
She has become increasingly alarmed that owners of small dogs at the lochside often leave their pet off the leash.
“Why do people with small, yapping dogs think that they are exempt from the rule that all dogs must be on a leash”?
“The majority of these people do not bother to keep their dogs under control, with the result that many of them are allowed to run up to our animals and start challenging and barking at them.
“Our dogs look like fully-grown adult dogs but they’re not and they are still at he stage when they want to play with everything.
“The problem with that is that they can severely injure one of these small dogs just trying to play with them and then, through the actions of thoughtless selfish, lazy people, our animals get the reputation of being ‘dangerous dogs.’
“One man actually got very annoyed when I told him to get his dog on a leash, his thoughts were, that since his dog was micro chipped, it didn’t need a collar or I.D. tags and certainly didn’t need to be on a leash!
“We saw one woman take her dog right through the middle of the children’s play area.
“Again, these people think they are exempt from park rules!”
However, it seems that leaving your dog off the leash at the lochside ISN’T actually against the rules imposed by the stewards of the site, South Lanarkshire Council.
Said Shirley Clelland, Head of council Environmental Services: “There is no legal requirement to keep a dog on the lead at all times,
“However owners must ensure their pet is kept under control.
“The new requirement to have dogs chipped does not mean owners are exempt from these requirements. Responsible dog owners will know when it is appropriate to let a dog off the lead, taking account of any local rules covering the area.”
Meanwhile, the poor state of stretches of the lochside path was discussed at Monday night’s meeting of the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council.
SLC member Councillor Catherine McClymont promised to look into the issue.