Dangerous dogs Sheffield: Surge in demand for Rivelin Valley Dog Park after Handsworth Road dog attack

Surge in interest in Sheffield 'dog park' for so-called dangerous dogs after attack in Handsworth
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Sheffield businessman Michael Hill battled to set up a dog exercise field in beautiful Sheffield countryside.

Now, with that field in operation, he is seeing a surge in demand on the back of concerns raised following a recent dog attack in Sheffield earlier this month.

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Mr Hill opened up Rivelin Valley Dog Park, but was closed down at one stage by Sheffield Council because the operation was in the green belt, sparking concern from officials.

Michael Hill's own pet rottweiler, playing in his Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael HillMichael Hill's own pet rottweiler, playing in his Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill
Michael Hill's own pet rottweiler, playing in his Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill

But after managing to secure a licence to run the business, he re-opened. And he now believes that his venue, which he believes to be the only facility of its kind in the city, is part of the solution to concerns over dangerous dogs.

Mr Hill, who himself has a rottweiler, as well as smaller westie-poo and poo-ton dogs, opens up part of his fenced off field to owners of dogs who can release their pets off their lead on their own in the enclosure.

His land is opposite Holme Head Wheel Dam on Rivelin Valley Road

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And since police were sent to deal with an attack by a loose dog on a man who was walking a dog on Handsworth Road, last week, he has received a surge in calls.

Michael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael HillMichael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill
Michael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill

They have also come on the back of national concerns over XL bully dogs, after a man was killed by one in Staffordshire, sparking a warning from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that the breed would be banned.

Mr Hill said: "I started getting people's dogs in for £10 an hour. I was told I couldn't do it at first, because of concerns that it was in the countryside. But since I got planning permission, I have had a lot of demand from people with dogs like XL Bullies, and think it is a good idea for the dogs.

Michael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael HillMichael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill
Michael Hill's Rivelin Valley Dog Park, in the Sheffield countryside. Picture: Michael Hill

"It is a safe, secure place where people can come to the middle of the Rivelin valley, and let their dogs off the leash. There should be more places like this, because otherwise there is no where else to take them other than public places."

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Visitors bring their dogs to the field, reverse through a gate, where they can open up their boot and let their dog out safely. They can then wait on a bench while their dog runs about for an hour, or play with their pets in the field

When the hour is over, the dog is put back in the boot and driven away. The space is estimated at around 50m by 50m in size. No dog can get out, and it is shielded from the public by trees.

Mr Hill said: "I had to fight to get this going, but it's been up and for running six or seven months now. There is nowhere for these dogs to go, but this is a solution.

"We have always been busy, but we have seen a rise in demand after what happened in Handsworth this month. A lot of owners only have little gardens, and without this, they would have nowhere to let it out."