Dog owners fear letting pets off-lead in Victoria Park could be banned

Dog owners fear they could be banned from letting their pets run off-lead in Victoria Park, after Tower Hamlets Council chiefs admitted they were considering introducing a similar scheme to one already in place in neighbouring borough Hackney.

Although park users are not yet being officially asked for their views, council officials attended a meeting of the Friends of Victoria Park group to discuss the issue while they consider setting up a formal consultation about new regulations.

Furious dog walkers have slammed the council for not informing them about the possibility they could lose the right to let their dogs run freely in the park.

Katrin Rebele, 33, of Meath Crescent, Bethnal Green, uses the park every day for her dog-walking business and said she fears a ban would “destroy” her company.

“I understand dogs shouldn’t be allowed in the children’s playgrounds – but there are no fences in the park anymore so no one knows where dogs are allowed to go,” she added.

Bow resident Jason da Silva, 38, said the vast majority of the park’s dog owners are responsible with well-behaved pets.

He only found out the meeting had taken place from another dog walker and said park workers were unaware of it when he asked for more information.

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“We find this whole process to be highly underhand,” he added. “There has been absolutely no public information that restricting our ability to walk him is being discussed and zero consultation with other actual dog walkers that use the park.”

But a spokeswoman for the local authority in Tower Hamlets said: “The council has been open and officers have publicised the meeting to discuss issues around dogs.”

Officials are “aware” Hackney has implemented various restrictions, she added, and wanted to discuss whether something similar would work in Tower Hamlets.

“Our aim at the meeting was to get the views of dog owners first before considering if it merited a full and wide consultation,” she said.

“There is no consultation planned as yet and will not be until the council has considered what dog owners have to say.”

Another Friends of Victoria Park meeting about the issue is planned for Saturday, November 17, at The Hub in the East Park from 1pm. For more information, visit