Abney Park Cemetary given exemption from Hackney ‘leads-only’ rule for dogs

Abney Park Cemetery Pic: by Anesu Ngwenya

One of Londons most historic cemeteries has been exempt from a new Hackney council rule forcing dog owners to keep their pets on leashes in open spaces and parks.

The decision to exempt Abney Park Cemetery comes after 1,600 people signed a petition to the council demanding that their pets be able to continue to roam. All other parks and public open spaces now can only allow dogs on leads.

The Public Space Protection Order which came into force this month will allow the council to stop people exercising dogs without leads. Abney Park was originally included and backed by the Abney Park Trustees who said, “Our community can be balanced with the needs of the ecosystem through a sensible and enforced on-lead rule.” But the council relented after the petition.

The Cemetery has had issues with it being a hotspot for dog walkers with an anonymous user on a public forum saying “Another problem they’re having at Abney Park Cemetery is that dogs off their leads are digging on graves.”

On a visit to the park, Eastlondonlines saw that many dog owners has their dogs off their leads. Heidi Kennedy aged 74 and a dog owner herself said, “I think this is what we need for dogs. We need a place like this is in London and I think everyone with a dog will say the same things.”

Caroline Kennedy, 31 who was on a walk with her partner said, “I prefer it when dogs are on a leash, but I guess it depends on how the dogs behaving.” Elaine Eggels aged 50 who is a dog owner said ” So there was a proposal to put dogs on leashes because apparently there’s been problems, but I bring my dog here because he’s a quite a nervous around other dogs so it’s quite peaceful and a good place to let them off the lead to see what’s coming it’s a controlled environment.”

The cemetery is known for well-known people like William Booth, the founder and first General of the Salvation Army being buried there.

William Booth’s Grave Pic: by Abney Park Cemetery

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