Dog bans risk animal welfare

According to a BBC report, the Kennel Club (KC) has warned that there are too many councils across England and Wales that are either forcing owners to keep their dogs on a lead or banning them altogether from public places like beaches, parks and even open fields.  The KC says this could have an impact on animal welfare.

In their defence, the Local Government Association (LGA) confirmed that yes, more councils are using dog control orders but this is in response to demand from the public, particularly parents.

The KC has raised concerns with local councils and MPs and their communications director, Caroline Kisko, said:

“Introducing dog control orders to exclude or keep dogs on leads in parks and open green spaces could have serious implications for animal welfare.  Many dogs require vigorous exercise and their health could be compromised if they are not able to exercise off lead.”

Before putting a dog control order in place, the council must publish an advertisement in the local papers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

The KC says many dog owners are unlikely to have read these notices and have complained they have missed the consultation period, only becoming aware once the sign is in place at the local pubic space in question.

The LGA has blamed much of the complaints on dog fouling, particularly where children may play and a spokesperson added:

“Councils are not averse to the idea that there should be a right of appeal if responsible dog owners feel hard done by when a dog control order is put in place.”

There are fines in place if dog owners ignore the dog control orders.  It seems only fair that children have a right to play where there should be no dog faeces, so what’s the answer?