Sapphire Worlledge, 16, and her two-year-old Siberian Husky Kaiser were attacked by two dogs while walking in a field near their Felixstowe home.

Dogs off the leash can be unnerving

Friday, February 1, 2013
10.00 AM

SHOULD dogs be kept on leads in public spaces?

Forced to travel to get a passport

HOW ridiculous that Suffolk no longer has a passport office.

Everyone needing a first passport has to be interviewed – and now people have to travel to Chelmsford, Norwich, London or Peterborough just for a few questions to check their identity because supplying your own full birth certificate, mother’s birth certificate, national insurance number and a host of other personal details, plus references from professional people, is not enough to prove you are British.

This is for people wanting to leave the country – we don’t make that many checks on people coming to live here.

You’d think it possible for a day or two of interviews once a month to be held at another government office to save unnecessary and expensive travelling.

It is an issue which has raised its head following the incident on the Orwell Green playing field in Felixstowe where Sapphire Worlledge and her Siberian husky were attacked by two dogs running off the lead.

Contributors to the Streetlife social website have been furiously debating the issue.

It’s been enthralling. Some who have had a very bad experience understandably feel dogs should be kept on leads in all public places – parks, open spaces, sports fields, streets, beaches and proms.

Most though think it is safe for dogs to be off lead around other people – but it’s the responsibility of owners to ensure their dogs are properly trained.

One correspondent said it should be compulsory for people to take their pets to training classes.

By-laws are in place in parts of Felixstowe to ensure people keep dogs on leads – such as the prom – but no-one takes a blind bit of notice and no-one bothers to enforce them.

I always find it a little unnerving when a loose dog is running about and especially when it heads my way. Our children were frightened several times when small by dogs off the leash bounding up to them.

Owners though, in my experience, are mortified when their dogs run up to you – full of apologies for their errant pets, and attacks which cause injury are thankfully very rare. The answer must be responsible training to make everyone feel comfortable and confident when dogs are off lead.