|Protest against four dog rule in Lancashire
Dog walkers in South Ribble plan to descend on the council offices in Leyland, Lancashire, on Thursday to protest about the Council's decision to ban people from walking more than four dogs at a time.
South Ribble Borough Council decided to approve the controversial Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which reduces the maximum number of dogs allowed under one person's control in local parks from six to four. They insist that this will reduce the amount of dog fouling and increase public safety.
Professional dog walkers say that this will affect their business and that they will be forced to pay for the behaviour of less responsible owners. Some professional dog walkers fear that this decision could cost them up to £1,000 a month.
The order will fine anyone walking more than four dogs or not carrying a waste disposal bag £100.
Protesters put together a petition calling for a rejection of the limit after the decision had been made and it already has over 1,700 signatures.
A similar four dog restriction was made by the London Borough of Richmond earlier this year and dog owners expressed great concern at the time over their decision. Despite the fact that almost 60 percent of respondents to a consultation disagreed with to limit they still decided to impose it. However, Richmond did agree that up to 15 people could be exempted from the restriction. Gosport Borough Council in Hampshire has also instituted a four dog rule.
Last November the Kennel Club identified that responsible dog owners are being increasingly penalised by tough restrictions on dogs. They recognised that PSPOs can 'criminalise' owners and that dogs are banned or restricted in over 3,300 public spaces in England and Wales.
The KC wants the Home Office to provide improved guidance to Local Authorities to provide appropriate exemptions to dog owners.
The protester's plan is to hold a visual demonstration that will make the council take notice of the strength of feeling there is for this decision.
Organiser of the campaign Councillor Claire Hamilton told the Lancashire Post, 'We hope the council take notice of these dog walkers and I am actively calling on the leader Peter Mullineaux to come down and speak to those affected.'