Leeds City Council Responsible Dog Ownership Scheme
Leeds City Council have recently announced their conclusions relating to their consultation on a ‘Responsible Dog Ownership Scheme’. There was a consultation last year regarding ways to tackle the amount of dog fouling on the streets and public places, and dogs which appear to be or are, out of control.
As can be seen from the ‘Info’ section of this website, there were various areas of consideration – when dogs can be ‘off lead’, where dogs are allowed to access, the authority of the dog warden, dog fouling, and the number of dogs to be walked by an individual. It seems that this last point has caused concern in various areas of the community as the decision made of a maximum of four differs from what was apparently discussed during the consultation, where it was considered six would be the agreed number.
I wish to state my personal opinion on this – not to cause consternation or to be controversial, but because it’s how I feel and what I believe.
Anyone who knows me, or for whom I walk their dog, knows that although I am insured to walk more dogs, I will usually only walk a maximum of 3 well behaved dogs at any one time. Dogs which are harder to control or unhappy walking with other dogs will be walked on a ‘one to one’ basis for my wellbeing, for the safety and wellbeing of the dog and for that of the general public. I personally consider that three or four dogs would be an absolute maximum number that anyone could safely walk in order to ensure the dogs receive full care, attention and control – irrespective of the individual’s experience. It may be that others have different motivations for walking dogs, but I personally love all dogs and want to get to know the dogs I walk, play with them, talk to them and give them maximum attention – as well as ensuring I uphold the law, keep the dogs under full control and clean up after them. In order to ensure this, I wouldn’t consider walking any more than four as an absolute maximum.
As a dog owner, the thought of me entrusting someone and paying someone to exercise my dogs, who walks them with more than two or three other dogs, would suggest to me that my dogs would not be gaining the love and attention I would expect, and that would be very disappointing to me. I’m sure my dogs and those I board and walk are no different to all other dogs – they like to stop and sniff at intervals – they play, they just enjoy life and the walk! I speak to them, give them the occasional treat as a reward for them responding to a ‘sit’ command for example. I don’t understand how the dogs can be free to do that if they are being walked with four or five other dogs?
A further consideration I have is as a pedestrian! As the owner of two dogs, I know how intimidating it sometimes seems for people to have two dogs walking towards them – albeit on leads. As a pedestrian walking towards two dogs, I want to ensure that the person walking those dogs is in full control. I’m not convinced that walking towards someone who is walking six dogs – again even if all six dogs are all on leads – I know I would not feel entirely convinced that, should one of the dogs lunge towards me or attack one of the other dogs, that the person walking those dogs would be in full and absolute control.
I personally support the views of Leeds City Council which, it appears to me, seem to have the wellbeing of dogs and the public at their heart.
I would welcome your views! Let me know what you think!!