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Poll: Should dogs be kept on a lead in Norwich’s parks? Father calls for action after two-year-old son is injured

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:49 11 July 2014

Roberto Ramirez is demanding that Norwich City Council takes action after his son Luciano was knocked over in Heigham Park by a dog that was not kept on a lead.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Roberto Ramirez is demanding that Norwich City Council takes action after his son Luciano was knocked over in Heigham Park by a dog that was not kept on a lead. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

A father from Norwich is appealing for action against dog owners who fall foul of guidelines at an Earlham park after his two-year-old son had to go to hospital after being knocked down.

What started as a game of hide-and-seek for Roberto Ramirez and his son Luciano, turned into tragedy after a dog, who had been let off its lead in Heigham Park, tried to jump over the child, causing him to fall on the back of his head.

And after he started to bleed, Mr Ramirez, of Gladstone Street, off Dereham Road, took his son the accident and emergency department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Now the 29-year-old is calling for more action to be taken against dog owners who do not supervise their pets and wants Norwich City Council to enforce a rule for dogs to be put on a lead in the park.

He said: “Dog owners do not seem to take the rules seriously, or the potential danger and inconvenience to others. If you are aware, the rules are that dogs are kept under control and that they are kept from the games field - neither of which are observed at the moment.

“My son has been visibly wary of the dogs since the incident and often mentions it, which is not how anyone should feel within the park.

“I understand other parks prohibit dogs completely, which I don’t think is necessary as long as the rules are properly enforced, but I hope something is done about it before anything more serious happens.”

Mr Ramirez and his partner Sophie Parke, 25, addressed their concerns in a letter to the city council.

But Adrian Akester, head of citizen services, said it was “difficult” to enforce action but was seeking legal advice.

“The by-law is so badly worded that it is very difficult to enforce,” he said. “I understand all we can do is ask for people to leave the park which just moves the problem on elsewhere.

“We do recognise the seriousness of the issue especially when incidents like this happen.

“I have asked the neighbourhood teams if they can visit the park and speak with people where they find dogs off lead to encourage them to control their dogs properly.”

• Do you think dogs should be kept on leads in Norwich’s parks? Write to the Letter’s Editor, with full details of name and address, at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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