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Kennel Club works with land owning organisations to protect the rights of responsible owners who wish to enjoy the countryside

Over the last eighteen months, the Kennel Club has had various meetings and made presentations to a number of ‘Access’ organisations such as the Countryside Agency, Forestry Commission and English Nature who have been tasked with the implementation of the Countryside and Rights Of Way Act (CROW), since its introduction on the 19th September 2004.

From this date, a major new right of access has gradually been introduced that will give people the opportunity to walk freely across mapped ‘access land’ without having to stay on footpaths, which in England, will give the public access to around one million hectares (4000 square miles) of the country.

The reason for the Kennel Club’s proactive involvement was that it wanted to ensure that the rights of responsible dog owners were carefully and fully considered as part of the consultation process, with an interest in the building of partnerships with the various agencies and a clear mutual understanding of rights and responsibilities between dog owners and land managers.

These meetings have gone extremely well and this year’s Crufts saw the launch of a new ‘Countryside Code Canine Campaign’ - jointly backed by the Countryside Agency, Kennel Club and English Nature – who have all come together to give dog owners constructive and helpful advice to encourage harmony between dog owners, land managers and other users of the countryside and to help stimulate responsible enjoyment of the countryside by dog owners.

As well as working with these organisations, the Kennel Club has also agreed a concordat with the Forestry Commission, to ensure that dog owners feel welcome in the forest and to maintain an on-going dialogue to make the best of the opportunities dog ownership brings and minimise any negative impacts.

Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said, "We are delighted to be involved with this initiative and we have had input into the decision making process for dog owners who wish to enjoy the countryside responsibly. The partnerships have also enabled us to build good relationships for the future with these important, external organisations."