“If dog owners get fined, so should runners and cyclists”: Crawley dog walkers react to proposed Tilgate Park restrictions

There was a frosty reception from dog walkers this morning (January 6th) as they reacted to Crawley Borough Council’s planned fixed penalty for owners of dogs found without leads.

The £100 on the spot fine is in response to a petition signed by 146 people last September, brought about by a dog being attacked by another dog at Tilgate Park.

Despite a report from the council that said 22 dog-related reports had been made to Sussex Police between 2018 and 2021, the regular dog walkers of Tilgate Park are bewildered by the new penalty proposals.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Read More

Read More
People who let dogs off the lead in Crawley’s Tilgate Park could soon be fined
Alexandra and her canine companion

Dog-owners feel hard done by the new restrictions as some of the people who regularly attend the park feel that they are sensible with their dogs and that there are more dangerous park users, including cyclists and runners.

A dog walker we interviewed has had many confrontations with runners around Tilgate Park and even today, there was a near miss between him and a cyclist.

Long-standing resident Betty Oldfield said: “If they aren’t well-behaved then yes, but if they are under control like she is, I don’t see any reason not to have a dog off a lead.”

Maidenbower resident Alexandra said: “It’s absolutely fine, it won’t affect me really.

Long-time Tilgate resident Bill Nippier and his pooch

“If it’s the whole park that would spell trouble for the dogs and their owners.

“I understand keeping the dog on a lead around the lake, but the woods should be free for dogs to be let off the lead.

Long-time Tilgate resident Bill Nippier said: “It’s ridiculous to be honest with you.

“We’ve been coming up here since 1973.

Long-standing Tilgate resident Betty Oldfield goes for a walk around the park twice a day with her dog

“I’ve been told to put the dog on the lead when the runners have been coming up here. I refuse to do it. I said I’ve been coming up here for a long time, you’ve only been here for 5 years.

“They say my dog’s lead will trip them over. My dog’s insured, the runners are insured and it’s their problem if they injure themselves.

“The dogs are no trouble. If we see another dog on the lead we always put our dogs on one and we always put our dogs on a lead when there are kiddies around.”

Alison Carnell from Maidenbower said: "Not certain about fining dog walkers and owners without leads.

"I am personally very wary of dogs and wish that dog owners would ensure that they keep their dogs away from me. I do not want any dog coming up to me to 'say hello'.

"I would say to all dog owners please respect my personal space and keep your dog away, by all means ask if I would like to stroke your dog, but please don't assume I do and don't tell me he/she is safe or friendly, as I know of more than one instance when this has preceded the dog biting friends of mine."

What’s your thoughts on this story? If you would like to tell us yours, please email us at [email protected]