www.hilly.org.uk Rotating Header Image


Dogs are very welcome in Hilly Fields and there is a thriving sociable group of dog owners who can regularly be seen come rain or shine. The place would not be the same without them. Perhaps one of them would like to do a blog for our website, like our bird champions’ blog? (yes we now have more than one)

On the rare occasions when there have been serious dog attacks, a wealth of stories emerge about other incidents. However, Animal Welfare cannot follow up on unreported incidents. So if you witness or are the victim of a dog attack, you should report it to Animal Welfare. You can email Kay Foley at:
Kay.Foley@lewisham.gov.uk or phone Animal Welfare on Tel: 020 8314 2098
Try to get as much information on the incident as if safely possible.

Lewisham’s Dog Control Orders are now in operation in the Borough. This unfortunately means we have some additional clutter at park entrances!


Owning a dog brings a lot of enjoyment but also a great deal of responsibility. This page is designed to give you an idea of the laws relating to dog ownership.
Dog Control Orders

An offence under the Dog Control Order can result in an on-the-spot £75 fine and fines of up to £1000. Offences include:

1. Fouling of land by dogs and failing to remove dog faeces.
All public footpaths and highways, including tree bases, grass verges and gutters. All parks, gardens and open spaces where dogs are permitted.

2. Not keeping a dog on a lead.
All public footpaths and highways. Nature reserves:
Burnt Ash Pond, Grove Park, Sydenham Cottages. Cemeteries and crematoriums

3. Not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer.
All parks, gardens and open spaces where dogs are permitted.

4. Taking more than four dogs onto specified areas.
All parks, gardens and open spaces where dogs are permitted.

5. Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded.
All play areas, fenced sports areas within parks, gardens and open spaces. Play areas on housing estates. Other areas where dog exclusion orders are in operation:


All dogs in public places must wear a collar with a plate or tag, with the owner’s contact details inscribed on it.

Failure to do so can result in the dog being picked up as a stray and fines of up £5000. You are now required to have your dog microchipped from eight weeks old. https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped
This greatly increases the chances of you being reunited with your dog, should you lose it.


Under the Fouling of Land Act, failure to clean up faeces deposited by your dog can result in an on-the-spot fine of £50 and/or leave you facing fines of up to £1000 and a criminal record. Find out more
Stray dogs

A dog is considered a stray if it is not under the control of its owner in any public place, or on any private land without the permission of the landowner. This may result in the dog being picked up by the Animal Welfare Service and the owner fined for its return.
Dangerous Dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. This can result in the police seizing the dog and in severe cases obtaining a court order for the destruction of the dog.

Dogs which are named under the DDA 1991 must be kept on lead by someone who is sixteen or over, and muzzled in public. Dogs named in the act include the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Filo Braziliero. It is now an offence to own these dogs unless they have been registered.
Dogs and livestock

Dogs must never worry livestock: Even letting your dog walk in the same field as livestock may be considered as “worrying”. A farmer is entitled to kill your dog if it is worrying livestock.

For Any Dog Queries contact
Animal welfare
Tel: 020 8314 2098


  1. Michael says:

    Dog Walkers.

    Hello. I’m a regular user of Hilly Fields and it’s a park I greatly love. It’s very sad then that the “sociable” dog owners of Hilly Fields don’t seem that responsible. There’s is never a single time that I see a dog owner put their dog on a lead when my dog and I walk past them. It’s pretty much the first rule of dog owning: See a dog you don’t know? Then put your dog on a lead. Let them get to know one another while the owners are in complete control. I know that a lot of dog owners will argue that their dog is kind and gentle but you just don’t ever know how one dog will react to another. My dog got seriously attacked last year in Ladywell Fields because of a thoughtless owner who couldn’t be bothered to simply put their dog on a lead for a moment.

    Also, yes, these owners “socialise”. But they do it by simply standing there talking while their dogs run around. That’s not walking your dog. Fine, socialise, by all means. But walk with the dogs. Every time I see a large group of dogs off the lead, it means I can only stay at one part of the park. And you know what? Maybe I’d like to socialise with them too but it’s impossible if they won’t just take a minute to put dogs on lead and get them to know one another first.

    I really don’t think it’s much to ask. Is there a Hilly Fields Dog Owner’s forum I could write to? Thank you for your time.

  2. Chair says:

    We have a facebook page which I could post your concerns on and see if we have any feedback. I’ve been asking some of the dog walkers about your problems in the park, but as I don’t own a dog, I wasn’t aware you would put your dog on a lead every time one walked past.

  3. whealie says:

    I have to say I have never heard of it being protocol to put your dog in a lead every time it meets a new dog. I’ve never seen it happen anywhere.

  4. Liz WD says:

    Am trying to track this issue further but couldn’t find anything on Facebook. I am currently looking into dog owner etiquette & the law (with a view to clarifying/improving communication about the position in Brookmill Park & Ladywell Fields in particular) but as a user of Hilly Fields too it would be useful to be more informed about the dog walking environment in this larger space. I tend not to take my dogs to Hilly Fields that often largely because of the reasons highlighted by Michael (in March above) – perhaps a clear dog & dog owner etiquette could be devised by the local dog walking community if one doesn’t already exist…and if one does exist please publicise! Many thanks?

    Can I also plug the fledgling Facebook page for Friends of Brookmill Park and the website http://www.BrookmillPark.org.uk?

  5. Liz WD says:

    Oops..meant Brookmill Park and Broadway (not Ladywell) Fields in above comment

  6. Sarah says:

    Dogs are actually better off meeting off lead in my experience. Many dogs tend to be more anxious ON the lead which can actually cause more problems and more aggression. Throw in an owner that is worried about their dog meeting new dogs and you got yourself a dangerous mix.
    I have owned and been around dogs all my life and lived in several countries. Nowhere have I ever heard of a general etiquette or rule of putting your dog on a lead every time you meet a new dog. I trust my dogs not to be aggressive and want them to be able to get away if this new dog is aggressive towards them.

  7. Lisa Sullivan says:

    I would like to make fellow dog walkers aware of this incident, last week I was walking my puppy, and there was a man with it looked like a small black male staff,the dog was off lead and it went off lead to another dog ,being very aggressive, the owner picked his dog up, the dog then started making his way to my puppy,which I had to pick up ,I walk with a stick so this was not very easy for me to do,the owner constantly called his dog but it would not listen,he finally got it on a lead an apologised to us,just be aware of this ,as it could have turned out to be very nasty.

  8. Jasmine says:

    That’s why I don’t take my dog to dog parks because there are too many irresponsible owners with off leash dogs with zero recall. Last year I was walking my dog ( he was ON lead), and a husky runs up to us, owner not in sight. Havjgg a sniff at my dog. Next thing this husky starts attacking my dog! I had to grab the husky myself and return to owner. ( all was reported to council).
    I’m sure with covid there are now rules & guidelines stating dogs must be on a leash in public fields ( unless they have substantial recall) and under control at all times. But people aren’t following these rules and continue to let their uncontrolled dogs run up to others and can’t recall back.
    Last i checked this (hilly Fields) wasn’t a dog park just a public field?
    Dogs shouldn’t be out of control running invading other dogs space. What if there is a nervous shy or reactive dog that needs space it’s not fair on them.

  9. Chair says:

    The park along with all others in Lewisham is covered under the dog control orders, listed above. When we’ve spoken to the animal welfare, they say that a dog is deemed to be out of control if it doesn’t return on its first call.

    There were suggestions that to stop close interactions, around Covid concerns, that all dogs should be kept on a lead. These remained good practise rather than anything that could be enforced. Dogs are allowed in most of the park off the lead, if under control. The exceptions are the tennis and basketball courts, the playground and the shade garden.


    Mentioned in this thread..five years ago, Brookmill Park is a dog free zone, because of the nature conservation issues and nesting birds in the river area.

    Sorry your dog is being pestered in the park, it is particularly busy at the moment.

  10. Helen says:

    I absolutely agree that there is a big problem with dogs off-leash. It seems, unfortunately, extremely rare to meet a dog that would have a solid recall (that means a dog comes back to an owner after FIRST recall in ANY situation). There are a lot of dogs that were traumatised by aggressive dogs and became reactive in the situation when dogs freely approach them; also there are lots of anxious dogs who generally need space.

    I have a dog that was rescued and he is often reactive to some dogs (not to all, he has a lot of friends); I train him with a behaviourist but it is difficult because almost on each walk we encounter off-leash dogs that just run on us, and do not listen to their owners at all (my dog, of course, is always on lead). This experience reinforces my dog’s reactivity each time. For the 4 months, I met only ONE (!) dog that would come back to an owner after the first recall. I am so desperate because of these situations. It seems that many dog owners are not aware of how dangerous their irresponsible behaviour is and how it is able to ruin somebody’s progress (and it doesn’t matter if your dog is friendly, the problem is in the fact itself of freely approaching).

    I research this topic a lot, and all behaviourists I was reading/listening
    to — advise everyone to avoid off-leash dogs (even if your dog is not reactive at all) because sometimes just one bad encounter can create problems with reactivity for a long time. In addition, they say that they never take their dogs to closed dog parks: because it is not socialising, it is just dangerous, and many dogs get injuries and traumas in such parks.

    I dream about a world where respect would be paid to everyone, and where people would care about others, in this case — people and dogs around them.

  11. Ben war says:

    Thank you for the clarification of rules within lewisham
    Parks. We do not have a dog but myself and my partner have both grown up with dogs elsewhere in this country and Europe. I have to say that in both our experience, when an unknown dog approaches both dogs (or all dogs go on leads). I’m commenting really to share our experience of walking around with a young child. We have found there are so many dogs with no recall off the lead. We have had lots of incidences with dogs jumping up on my daughter and barking on some occasions. The most bizarre thing for us is that the owners stand back and call instead of getting their dog off of our daughter. I felt livid when a man ran around us with a whistle whilst I lifted my daughter into the air to avoid this aggressively barking dog. And then to be told ‘he’s only friendly’ etc. etc. Try as we might this is causing a phobia in our daughter that is affecting our ability to enjoy park spaces. In Ladywell fields we are constantly having to negotiate large groups of dogs and owners with laser pens that make them bark. They seem obviously to how this affects others and that they are blocking paths/bridges witj this behaviour. I’m sure those dogs are lovely but it’s hard to convince my daughter after so many negative interactions around hilly fields and Ladywell fields. The dogs dominate areas. We also cannot use the Ladywell green playground at certain times as it appears several local dog owners are using the playground as an enclosed dog zone for their pit bull type dogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *