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Mum of autistic teen calls for tougher rules around dogs on leads

Mum of autistic teen calls for tougher rules around dogs on leads

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:11pm 29th April 2019.

A St Austell mum has told Pirate FM how her autistic teenage son's fear of dogs is so severe it brings on anxiety induced seizures.

Lorraine O'Farrell makes a point of taking Jack to places where owners are asked to keep dogs on leads.

But on their latest visit to Boscawen Park in Truro several weren't - which she says made the outing very stressful.

13-year-old Jack was left in tears and they had to go home.

Now Lorraine is calling for tougher rules - along with fines and better signage.

Jack O'Farrell

"We literally have nowhere left to go for him to be out and about anymore due to dog owners ignoring dog bans and signs that ask for dogs to be kept on leads.

"We went to Boscawen Park for him to ride his new bike he had for his birthday and had to leave with him in tears after just 10 minutes due to 3 dogs off leads.

"My son suffers severe anxiety with his autism and no matter how big or small aggressive or friendly a dog is, it makes no difference, his fear is wired in and to him all dogs are like wolves.

"When his anxiety is pushed too high, he suffers pseudo seizures, common with autism and this has happened due to some selfish dog owners.

 

Jack O'Farrell

 

"They even tut and roll their eyes to his reaction. When a dog has priority over a child in a child's park something is very wrong with society.

"I have contacted the council about their signage as it politely says 'please keep your dog on a lead'.

"It needs to be more like you will be fined if you don't keep your dog on a lead and the amount, there also needs to be more of them and they need to be bigger.

"We saw one dog there doing its business in the sand pit! Why can there not be dog parks separate to children's.

"I'm just a mum that's at her wit's end because we have nowhere left to go and my son knows that people don't take any notice of dogs on leads signs, he knows and refuses to go now.

"I want the Council to enforce it more but I don't think anything will be done unless more attention is drawn to the matter."

Lorraine O'Farrell

Jack O'Farrell

Truro City Council says it is sorry to hear about happened.

It has promised to review the number, content and size of the signs.

"We are very sorry to hear of the distress caused to Mrs O'Farrell's son by dogs not being kept on a lead.

"Boscawen park is a great facility for the community and is very busy, providing recreational opportunities for a wide range of interests.

"It is a large area, free to use, unfenced and therefore open twenty-four hours a day seven days per week.

Jack O'Farrell

"We have signs asking that dogs be kept on a lead and we find that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible in this regard and comply with this request.

"Clearly last Sunday there were a number of dogs not being kept on a lead.

"I have written to Mrs O'Farrell and advised that we will review the number, content and size of our signage.

"I am concerned about taking a harsh legalistic view particularly about the practicality of enforcing it; but we will consider this option."

Truro City Council

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