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KC Dog versus dog control orders

NEW DOG control orders are springing up in many areas, with the latest crop of orders to be introduced in January being: Gosport (consultation period ends on 13th January), East Northamptonshire (consultation period ends on 16th January), Ottery St Mary (consultation period ends 23rd January) and finally East Riding of Yorkshire whose consultation period ends 2nd February.

Each of these dog control orders have restrictions on where and when dogs can be exercised, but only one so far has been described as draconian by the Kennel Club’s KC Dog scheme and that is the Ottery St Mary dog control order. East Devon District Council’s proposals, put forward by Ottery Town Council, call for dogs to be excluded and kept on leads in a number of areas across East Devon, but most notably in Ottery St Mary.

Nearly all the councils who wish to introduce these orders have listed four main points covering: dog fouling, dogs on leads in public places, the number of dogs one person can walk at any one time, and exclusions from places such as children’s play areas and sports fields.

The proposed orders in Ottery St Mary to be put in place include: 1) Dog fouling – covering all public land. 2) Dogs on leads by direction – covering all public land. 3) No. of dogs – restricted to six dogs walked by any one person. 4) Dog exclusion - from Winters Lane playing field and school playgrounds. 5) Dogs on leads - owners will be required to keep their dogs on leads at all times of the year in the Land of Canaan.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: ‘The Kennel Club is concerned as DeFRA’s guidance on the Act states that authorities considering dog control orders must be able to show them to be a necessary and proportionate response to problems caused by the activities of dogs and those in charge of them. They must balance the interests of those in charge of dogs against the interests of those affected by the activities of dogs. There seems to be little evidence of this.

‘Now is the most effective time for dog walkers to make their views known. We would therefore urge all responsible dog owners in the local area to respond to the consultation in order to ensure the best possible result for all concerned.’

As most dog owners are aware it is necessary to allow some ‘free running’ time for dogs to maintain their health. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, dog welfare is to be taken seriously by owners and by the local authorities. By restricting the dogs and their owners from certain public areas and restricting the dogs from ‘free running’ exercise, the councils will be forcing dog owners to fail in their obligation to properly exercise their dogs. Restricting access will also affect owners with mobility issues, for example the elderly or disabled, either making it impossible for such owners to walk their dogs off the lead or by forcing them to travel to neighbouring areas.
KC Dog are working with local groups in all these areas to promote responsible dog ownership, and to help local groups get the right information to the local councils in the fight against proposed dog control orders. In a number of cases such as the Ottery St Mary case it is unclear from the information gained under the Freedom of Information what evidence or reasons have led to the proposed orders.

It is free to join KC Dog and in the current climate when councils all over the UK are introducing these dog control orders dog owners would find it advisable to join the KC Dog scheme, as it could be your area affected next! To join KC Dog, or for further information please contact us on or phone 020 7518 1020.

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