Dear Sir,
I feel I must take issue with the letter of 25th October regarding the “loose  alsation”. This dog is not an alsation it is a German Shepherd cross. I know the gentleman and the dog and I feel it is wrong to single out him and his dog in this way.
As a dog walker myself, I too let my dog free in these woods, taking care not to allow him to run up to people, sometimes unsuccessfully. It is wrong to assume that a dog is dangerous because of it’s breed.
All dogs are potentially dangerous, but in my experience this dog certainly is not. She is a beautiful friendly bitch, nosey  and inquisitive, but with a lovely temperamant. I speak to the owner regularly and he is always pleasant even though my dog does not get on so well with his bitch.
As dog owners we do have to be responsible and I totally agree that dogs should not be off the lead in Public Parks or near busy roads, but this bridleway is one of the few areas where our animals can be exercised safely.
I do have every sympathy with anyone who has a fear of dogs but surely they should find somewhere else to walk as on this path they will be constantly confronted with dogs of all breeds, sizes and not all nice. I don’t believe anyone with a dangerous dog would allow them to be off the lead and I know that the animal you refer to is definitely not a threat to anyone.
Haslewood Road Resident
Ed: The following information was obtained from Mark Farren Enforcement Manager at Durham County Council:
The dog control order that DCC brought in requires dog owners to clean up after their pet on virtually all land within the County.
The only exceptions to this are where the person has permission from the landowner, or on agricultural land, forestry commission land, marshland, or heathland (but not including public rights of way crossing those land types).
DCC does not have anything in place that requires dog owners to keep their dog on a lead.