THE FOUR DOG RULE by Lee Connor
I WAS INTERESTED to read on the BBC news online site that Gosport Borough Council (Hampshire) has brought in £100 fines for people who are caught exercising more than four dogs.
Previously people were allowed to walk up to six dogs but this has now been reduced. These ‘one size fits all’ laws never work with dogs but lessons quite clearly haven’t been learned. For example, there is a world of difference between exercising four tiny Chihuahuas or four much larger/stronger dogs.
Reading between the lines of this new order one can only conclude that this is yet another ‘dog law’ that has been rushed in to combat the actions of a thoughtless minority.
Professional dog walking is a relatively new ‘business’ in the UK and it has certainly taken off in some areas. Undoubtedly many of the people who walk these dogs are well able to look after a number of canine charges at one time but some sadly are way out of their depth and I have witnessed some very worrying and potentially dangerous incidents in local parks across the country.
One particular ‘professional’ near me walks over eight or nine different dogs in our local park and ‘walking’ them simply seems to consist of opening up the back of their van and letting their assorted excited pack just run amok while the ‘professional’ stands nearby talking on their phone!
It is probably because of people like this that these new laws are being brought in and even more worryingly is the introduction of the new PSPO’s (Public Spaces Protection Orders) and how these new orders are going to be implemented in the future.
Apparently, similar fines are already in place in areas such as Oxford.
Councillor John Tanner said: "With more than four dogs, you are not taking your dog out for a walk but a pack of potentially dangerous animals for a riot around the park."
Look out for the 'four dog rule' coming to a park/open space near you soon.