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KC urges owners to ‘defend dogs’ rights’

THE KENNEL club this week urged dog owners to lobby local authorities to defend their animals' rights against ‘unfair’ rules and restrictions.

Under the fairly recent Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, councils have the right to ban dogs from certain areas as well as limiting the number a person can walk at one time. However, the Kennel Club says it feels that some authorities have not been "reasonable and proportionate" in setting rules.

The Kennel Club's public affairs organiser, Holly Lee, told us the act had been ‘well-intended but misunderstood’ by many authorities.

Ms Lee said: ‘It is absolutely fair to keep dogs out of children's play areas, but how do you keep them 10 metres away without forcing owners to keep them on their leash?’

Some councils would only allow dogs to be exercised in the more run down areas, making it unpleasant and possibly evcen dangeous for owners, Ms Lee said. She added: "The act itself is fair but some councils have interpreted it in too restrictive a way. We are saying the guidelines have to be drawn up in a reasonable and proportionate way.People should lobby their councils where rules are unfair or even write to their MP. A lot of owners don't know how to do this effectively."

The Kennel Club will also tell its members how to mount legal challenges where owners find the rules unfair and plans to run a lobbying seminar in London next month.