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Swimmers told they face fines if they bring a dog to Heath pond

Beady just likes a nap in the sun while his owner takes a dip - but it's a breach of the bye-laws

07 December, 2017 — By Helen Chapman

Beady has been banned from the Highgate Men’s Pond

SWIMMERS at the Highgate Men’s Pond have been told they could be fined if they leave dogs to wait for them by the water while they take a dip.

Pet owners told the New Journal this week that they are unhappy that the City of London, which manages Hampstead Heath, has started enforcing a discretionary bylaw on where the dogs can and cannot go through its own constabulary.

Pond user John Dollar said his dog, Beady, named because of her different coloured eyes, was being banned from the side of the water despite being a regular – and calm – visitor for the past seven years.

He said: “I do not think the change is acceptable or reasonable. The City aren’t actually telling us why they are doing this. Beady is the last dog to pose a problem. She is so quiet, you wouldn’t even know she was there.”

Chris Piesold, chairman of the Highgate Men’s Pond Association, said: “Dogs have been coming to the Pond for years and have never caused problems for anyone. We are surprised that they are now seeking to change the policy. As a committee we plan to discuss this with the City to try and find a compromise – perhaps if dogs were allowed into the area first thing in the morning up to 10.30am.”

He added: “The City have been empowered to allow and not allow dogs as they choose. In this case they say they have had some complaints in the summer from some swimmers who are not happy with dogs.”

Robert Sutherland Smith, chairman of the United Swimmers Association of Hampstead Heath, said “I have seen many dogs in my life at the Pond, usually after their morning walk. They have a mid-morning nap whilst their owners take a dip. I don’t know of anyone who has complained about it. People tend to be pleased and greet the dogs, giving them a pet in a human manner.”

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation said: “We are committed to ensuring that Hampstead Heath remains a place that all our visitors can enjoy. Dogs, by law, are not permitted to enter the men’s bathing pond or any other swimming facility on Hampstead Heath. Any dog owner found not complying with the above may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. Our bylaws help us ensure that good health and safety standards are maintained and that our visitors have a pleasant experience.”

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