An American friend over on Facebook was surprised that my dogs are not on a lead (leash) in Herrington Country park (see post below). This was my reply:

Yes. In England dogs can be off the leash pretty much everywhere except on the street. The law states that they must be under control, so once you have trained them off they go. People are sensible on the whole. If they have a dog that isn't good with other dogs or children etc. they just pop them on the lead when they see someone coming towards them. In our public parks we have special enclosures for children rather than having special enclosures for dogs. In the past local councils have tried to insist that dogs are put on leads in public parks but we just all ignored them. Dog ownership in England is similar to gun ownership in the United States. "You'll put my dog on a leash - over my dead body."

It's all true, folks. Not only that but, other than being banned from central, town beaches in the summer months only, dogs are allowed on our beaches. They are most certainly allowed in the sea. I have seen films and TV programmes ("Marley And Me" springs to mind) where American dog owners are fined huge amounts of money for letting their dogs splash around in the surf. Why? The sea is absolutely full of animals eating and shitting. And then there's the oil companies, of course. Really, relax, you people! As long as you make sure your babies crawl around in the muck when they are young and have plenty of contact with dogs they will soon build up a healthy immune system and the chances of them catching anything off dog poo is remote. It's zero if everyone worms their dogs regularly. You should be worrying about letting your kids near human stuff. I am absolutely certain that the fact that one in a hundred and sixty five babies are now born with (or develop) autism has absolutely nothing to do with dogs or their crap.

I was talking philosophy with my dog.
I said, "Dog."
She said, "What?"
I said, "What is the difference between man and dog?"

My dog looked at me as if I was thick,
and said, "What is the difference?
Just listen to this,
since when have I told you where you can go shit?

"Now that is the difference.
That is it."



  1. I suspect that, as with most everything, our pervasive leash laws are driven by fear of law suits. I will say also that poorly trained dogs far outnumber well trained ones over here. The same can be said for children.

  2. Being a compulsive obsessive race obsessed with following rules and etiquette has its advantages. Also, if a dog hurts someone or causes an accident the owner is sued not the park owner.

  3. Ah, MP, you are mistaken…any possible involved party or municipality can and will be named in our law suit. The dog owner. The entity that allows individuals to run their dogs off leash. The manufacturer of the can of pepper spray that didn’t stop the dog. If possible they will sue them all and hope for an out of court settlement.

  4. Not in England, Renz. As long as the council puts up a sign saying they are not responsible for injury or accident etc. etc. they are in the clear.

  5. It’s a generalisation, I know, but it seems to me that in the USA they have the freedom to do lots of nasty things we are not allowed to do in England, whilst in England we have the freedom to do lots of nice things it has become impossible to do in the USA.

    I don’t think we’ll swap.