The battle against the dog police

Councils are banning dogs from places they’ve been walked for generations. Here’s how owners are fighting back

15 March 2014

9:00 AM

15 March 2014

9:00 AM

‘Be careful!’ shouted a woman on the North Wales beach. ‘The dog police are back!’ Using her walking stick to help her, Lynne stumbled towards the path leading off the beach as fast as she could, followed by her border terrier, Bonnie. But she was too late. The enforcement officer was already there, waiting. Lynne was given a fine and a severe lecture. Her crime? Taking Bonnie for a walk on the beach. She refused to give her name or address, so the officer tried to follow her home to find out.

Lynne isn’t alone. All over the country Britain’s dog owners are being persecuted, thanks to the increasingly tyrannical system of Dog Control Orders. These powers were first introduced in 2005, and no-dog zones have grown apace since then. Councils are under little obligation to consult or alert the public if they want to make an area off limits to our four-legged friends. A small announcement in a local newspaper is all the notice they need to give. Zealous bureaucrats have taken to issuing Dog Control Orders in places where people have walked their pets for generations. This is particularly irksome for pensioners, many of whom can’t drive or don’t own a car, and who have chosen to live near a public space to take their poodles for a potter only to find that the park, beach, path or whatever has become the subject of a control order. If they complain, the council will point them to the nearest place they can walk their dogs — the problem being that the area is often several miles away. What are the carless pensioners supposed to do?

Dog owners are fighting back. Last April, pub owner Willie Gregg organised a march in Portrush, County Antrim, to protest against the council’s plans to ban dogs from the beach all year round. His family has walked dogs on the local beach for five generations, he says. His protest — the ‘Barking Mad Protest Walk’ — drew more than a thousand people (and even more dogs). Similar protest marches have been held in St Ives, Northumberland, Pembrokeshire, and more recently in Croydon, south London.

The Kennel Club has set up a campaign, Access for Owners and Dogs, to battle dogphobic councils. The club hears of around 60 new dog exclusion zones a year, and contests about 30 of them. According to research by the Manifesto Club, the campaigning group of which I’m director, 219 no-dog zones now exist across London, covering a far greater area than the local bylaws that they were meant to replace.

Dog lovers complain that responsible owners are taking the rap for the irresponsible few who don’t look after their dogs properly and let them defecate all over the place. One protestor refers to the ‘bullying and often illegal manner’ in which controls are enforced. Many owners are starting to feel that the real crime is owning a dog at all — the zones are simply a trap to punish owners. In South Wales, a pensioner was pounced on by two enforcement officers who had been hiding in the bushes as she walked her dog in a field. The officers told her that the lack of signs was no excuse, since all the information could be found online.

Things are particularly bad in North Wales, where a group of locals are locked in conflict with Conwy council. In addition to introducing no-dog zones in areas frequented by dog walkers, the council has employed a private security company to enforce the new regime: black-shirted ex-soldiers paid on commission for each fine issued. Some elderly ladies are so afraid that they just carry their dogs around instead.

The dog war is being fought online, too. As well as posting lost-dog pictures and doggy advice, pro-canine social media groups have begun alerting owners and walkers to the underhand tactics frequently employed by councils. One Welsh dog group found that council officers had infiltrated its Facebook page, and promptly set about identifying and expelling informers.

There are other campaigns against dogs-on-leads orders and restrictions on the number of dogs that can be walked at once. The pro-dog brigades have had some success, too; petitions in Kensington and Chelsea forced the council into a U-turn. There are now similar disputes in Hounslow and Richmond. Another group is taking on North Lanarkshire’s decision to ban dogs from its premises and buildings, which would signal an end to dog training classes across the borough.

But even when Dog Control Orders are overturned, they reappear continuously, like hydras’ heads. At least now, the dog owners seem prepared for the fight ahead. ‘If the council tries to impose the ban covertly, I will organise a bigger and better and louder protest,’ says Willie, of the ‘Barking Mad’ march. ‘We’re not going to put up with this.’

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  • callingallcomets

    Thank goodness for no dog zones, especially on beaches, say I. For too long the doggy brigade has felt free to litter beaches and pavements/pathways with canine turds that then lay ready and waiting for some unsuspecting shoe…or else a terrified child has been cornered by some smelly mutt whose simpering owner claims is completely harmless and loves children…then a suggestion that their dim witted and slathering animal should be kept under control is treated as a hate crime..

    BTW, re the Nazi references…Hitler and co were all doggy fanatics. The Nazis reinforced rules against cruelty to animals…mirroring the attitude of many “animal lovers” today who care more about their pets than their fellow humans..

    • monty61

      Totally agree, dogs are filthy creatures only matched by their owners for unhygenic stink. (Dog owners smell worse than smokers in my opinion).

      Anyone who has had to throw shoes away after treading in muck fully appreciates efforts to minimise the impact of canine incontinence and their owners’ selfishness.

      • Terry Carlin

        I generally find dog owners to be a pleasant and considerate bunch. Whereas, anyone spouting the sort of nasty intolerance coming from you and the previous poster – well let’s say you don’t sound like a good sort. I pity your neighbours.

        • monty61

          The people one side have a stupid, pointless miniature bundle of greasy stink that starts yapping at 6am, going on sometimes till after midnight. Thankfully there is plenty of space around us and it really only bothers them, rather than their neighbours.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I wonder what they think of you? Sneering lefties stink worse than anything.

          • monty61

            I wonder how hard your neighbours laugh at you.

          • Colonel Mustard

            They are not all like you.

          • justalittlebitofthis

            I suggest you and shove your left wing head up your backside

      • Darnell Jackson

        FFS, you throw your shoes away?
        Why don’t you just clean them?

        • monty61

          Sometimes it’s just too disgusting, if the shoes are old then it causes less psychic damage to throw them out.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I shouldn’t worry in your case. Judging from your comments your psychic damage seems terminal.

          • Darnell Jackson

            Forgive me but you seem a little precious.

      • anncalba

        Ah, dog and their owners a filthy, as are smokers. I just wonder, do you have any personal habits that I might find offensive? Your sanctimonious belief that you are so perfect you have the right to dictate to others is certainly nauseating.

        • Colonel Mustard

          You can see where this is going though. Smokers. Drinkers. Food. Meat. Dog owners. It is always incremental, to condition us gradually to the wedge getting thicker when the end game might outrage us. Nasty puritans who want to meddle in the lives of others, all of them. Sick bunnies who want to control society.

      • What a jerk.

    • Some of my fellow humans are well below my dog in cleanliness, sweetness, house manners, public good behaviour, sensitivity, and fragrance. So don’t lecture us about the horrors of dogs!

      • monty61

        Another one in denial of his own stink.

        • Delusional — and you probably suffer from some obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well.

  • Peter L

    I’m with the Koreans on this one.

    If we can eat horseburgers with no harm done, why not a
    Rottweiler kebab?

    • LancasterL

      Chicken Poodle Sout? Sausage Dog and Chips? German Shepherd’s Pie? And, “How’s the chow tonight?

      • Ha ha — horrible thought, though.

  • wudyermucuss

    Please,please,let the dog police turn their attention to the plucking bar stewards who leave their dogs in the garden to bark,ruining lives.

    • But they won’t, will they? They’ll go for the easy targets and leave it at that.

  • SimonToo

    Little though I like dogs, and happy though I am to find myself in a dog-free place, this article does show how well-intentioned legislation will be soured when it is applied.

    It is proper that fines should be set at a level that they cover the reasonable cost of enforcement, but it is wicked that any enforcer should be able to affect his earnings by issuing or refraining from doing his job. If he can earn money for issuing a fine, why then should a member of the public not pay him to refrain from issuing a fine?

    It seems an abuse of power for local authorities to set up dog exclusion zones without proper and genuine consultation, and that they should be reasonably marked so people know where they are and where their limits lie. That they might be available on-line is irrelevant. No one walks their dog on-line.

    Clearly, Kensington & Chelsea has a problem with the limited amount of land for exercising the number of dogs in the borough, but Wales ? It suggests either that there is a significant profit from the fines, or that there are too many slavering local authoritarians in councils.

    • ‘Little though I like dogs’… Dogs are somewhat like children in being harder to like in the abstract than in particular cases. I’m not fond of children as a whole but if I knew individuals I’m sure that I would like a few of them very much. Dogs are as varied as people, in that way, and it helps to know them personally. On the other hand, it’s generally easier to enjoy Other People’s Dogs than it is to appreciate Other People’s Children.

  • mohdanga

    I own a dog as do many in my neighbourhood. Occassionally someone’s dog barks in their yard but only for short periods of time. My peace and quiet is ruined, however, by the following: the homeowner behind me building a garage the size of a pyramid who spent the last summer tree removing, grading, cement pouring, hammering, sawing, nailgunning, roofing, etc before winter arrived. Now more of the same to be enjoyed this summer when the siding goes on;
    – Mr. Bandsaw four houses over who likes to ramp her up at 9:00 on a Sunday night;
    – party central down the adjoining street;
    – Joe Fixer Upper and his endless supply of re-tread cars needing his constant attention, revving up, shutting down, hammering,
    And nary a by law officer to be found.

    • Colonel Mustard

      You have my sympathies. The serial sawers are the worst – just what is that all about?

      • mohdanga

        Just wait until the enriching Muslims demand dogs be kept off streets at all times because they are ‘offended’ by them…..it’s already happening in Spain.

        • Sod ’em and tell ’em to go home unless they learn to behave. They offend me!

      • They don’t read books, they don’t enjoy nature, they don’t have conversations, and they’re bored.

    • anncalba

      And the people who feel because it’s someone’s birthday/anniversary/or just a nice summer evening, they can let off fire works at midnight. We’ve had the first three sunny days of the year this week, nice enough to sit out in the garden, but immediately the chain saws, hedge trimmers etc. etc. came out.

    • Sounds like several of my recent neighbours! Oh god! My neighbours (she was worse than he) liked to power-wash their driveway all day on Christmas Day: the racket was appalling; another hobby was sawing bricks. Their driveway and workshop-garage were a mere fifteen feet from my kitchen side-door, I should add. So you have my empathy!

  • Colonel Mustard

    I see this one has brought out the dogophobics. Generally, going about my business, I find peoples spoilt, over-indulged, noisy brats far more irritating than dogs. Especially when they are brought caterwauling, shrieking and running about into shops and pubs whilst their vapid owners smile indulgently and ignore the disruption to others who might be wishing to enjoy a quiet browse, drink, meal or chat.

    Then there are the blessings of trampolines, barbecues, skate boards and quad bikes, all of which seem to be the preferred pastimes of morons whose idea of enjoyment is to make as much disruptive noise as possible with as little consideration for others as possible.

    Dogs on the other hand? Not a problem. The issue of their faeces is greatly exaggerated by the anti-dog brigade and over-zealous obsessed with protecting children mumsnet types who think the whole world should revolve around the well-being and safety of their brats and as though childhood is a permanent state. But the anti-dog brigade are growing more strident so expect a lot more regulations and controls.

    Very amusing to take a walk on a local bridle path lined with warning notices about dogs from the local dog-nazi, whilst dodging horse, fox and duck crap and the run off from a manure pile dumped by the local stables.

    PS common ground and public footpaths used to belong to the people not councils!

    • anncalba

      Agree, am constantly irritated by out of control kids rushing about screaming and being a thorough nuisance, only for their half witted parents to smile at me as if I should be enjoying it.

    • monty61

      Why am I not surprised that you prefer dogs over children?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Sneering again I see. But I didn’t actually write that. So check your prejudices.

        • justalittlebitofthis

          Don’t upset the lefties, They have a whole lot of hating the white race to do !

    • tjamesjones

      The thing is, Colonel, the reason people have a problem with “dog crap” is that dogs eat meat, and the crap of creatures that eat meat is truly unpleasant. Whereas cow and horse poo, it’s just an inconvenience.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Frankly I’m not a fan of any poo and I don’t have a dog! I agree that barking dogs are irritating but then so are barking commentators.

    • mikewaller

      I am a dog lover but consider the above nonsense. Yes, many kids behave appallingly but that does not make it any more pleasant for a parent whose child gets mixed up with dog excreta whilst on the beach. Had the vast majority of dog owners behaved responsibly, there would not have been a problem;but too many didn’t, so no-dog zones have been introduced. It is just a classic “lesser of two evils” issue and attempts to turn it into fascistic assault on the old English liberties is just so much rubbish.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Actually my comment was not suggesting an assault on the “old English liberties”. It was a personal opinion comparing the irritation factor of some dogs to some children. Since it was subjective and personal it can’t be nonsense.

        Suggesting it is nonsense is like suggesting that those who write that they don’t like Marmite is nonsense. Horses for courses. I’d rather dodge dog poo on the beach than have to put up with caterwauling kids and their moronically indulgent parents in libraries (of all places).

        Never wrote anywhere that appallingly behaved kids make it more pleasant for a parent whose child gets mixed up with dog excreta whilst on the beach. Suggesting that I did IS nonsense.

        And if we are so conscious of responsible public behaviour why are there no ‘caterwauling child free zones’?

    • Shorne

      Yet more evidence that Britain is one of the most child unfriendly countries in the World encapsulated by your use of the word ‘owners’, unless it was an attempt at humour.
      One day those children you vilify may be paying taxes will may directly benefit you and some may also be doing jobs that directly benefit you.
      I dislike having to share the World with bitter, twisted, reactionary old gits but we are stuck with them.
      However whilst I have never owned a dog I have always enjoyed watching the sheer joy of a dog on a beach charging into the sea after it is let off its lead and I think it should be allowed.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I dislike sharing the world with silly pillocks like you but there we are.

        And the same children might also be assaulting you, murdering you or running riot and looting shops, committing benefits fraud or generally contributing nothing to society so please spare me your ridiculous and totally irrelevant relativism.

        • Shorne

          What a joyless life you must lead,do you have any children?

  • Flintshire Ian

    If I come accross a Conwy Council Blackshirt I will tell them where to go. Here in north Wales, home of single issue policing, the local plod auxilliaries “Police Support” have taken to walking around with handcuffs prominently on show in their belts. No power of arrest and no more powers than anyone else to use handcuffs outside of a consenting adult relationship. The Police state rolls forward.

    • John Smith

      What traits make a person volunteer as an unpaid Special Constable?
      – Authoritarian?

      • startledcod

        Really tiny knob.

      • David davis

        We might stem the flow a little perhaps, by stating that when we finally come to power, all such “volunteers” will retroactively find “that their future life choices have become somewhat circumscribed”.

  • Nick


  • tjamesjones

    I’ve no dog in this fight, but it seems to me in the comments below, that there are those of us who don’t like dog poo and dog’s barking. If you don’t have a dog, you don’t get any benefit from someone else having a dog.
    Then, there are the dog fans, who seem to say, other things are worse – foxes, children, etc. As if that was a point?!

    Dogs are an imposition on others, not the biggest imposition, but please, there is no victimhood here Josie.

    • mohdanga

      How is my dog an imposition on others? I clean up after her, keep her on leash, when she’s off leash we make sure there are no children around (she is friendly and curious toward people of all ages, though) and people will generally stop and talk to us when we are out walking because she is cute little thing that people want to pet.
      I hate people who don’t pick up after their dogs and at this time of the year (in Canada) as the snow melts you see the incredible ignorance of people who don’t think that they have too. Same for barking dogs, my wife marched over to the house that backs onto ours at 7:00 AM on a Saturday to kindly inform them that their dog was making a racket (not the dog’s fault, though). It’s all about responsibililty and unfortunately there are people who have dogs that shouldn’t (same as people who shouldn’t have children but do). Surely the local plods and by law officers have better things to do than hide in the bushes ticketing an activity that any rational person would not consider a crime.

    • Darnell Jackson

      We are a nation of 60 million people, live and let live I say.

    • There are about 80 million dogs in the United States alone. Dogs are a fact of life: they are man’s best friend. There have been times when I have thought ‘I don’t like dogs’. I couldn’t stand it when owners that weren’t allowed to let their dogs run off-lead rushed up to me in an English park (where I had attempted to hide from them, anticipating their behaviour), and they leapt up on me and got mud all over my skirt. The owners, damn them, had nothing to say about it. I felt I had no recourse — and this being leapt on by dirty dogs has happened more than once (no metaphor for men, I hasten to add!). And don’t get me started on dog-barking: some dogs are incredibly stupid and their owners incredibly insolent, such that the dog starts barking at 7:00 am when I am still asleep but the owners have left home and he barks solidly like Chinese water-torture for two hours. We tried writing notes to the owners, in part because we felt sorry for the obviously lonely dog (this was on a canal where the sound just ricochets around). We phoned the local council but were told that there was precious little we could do even if we could be bothered to go to court. These people and many like them on the canal were public menaces. The only thing we could do was move to another location.

      But most people love their dogs, are pleasant neighbours, and don’t behave like complete jack*sses. The many should not be punished for the transgressions of a few. Also: not all dogs are the same: I am a definite dog snob. My girl only barks when she is alerting us to an ‘intruder’ (normally a courier, which at times is very helpful!). She does not do mindless, constant, or hair-trigger barking (Boxers don’t). Other dogs are very witless and irritating — but for every type of owner there is a suitable match in a dog….

  • Bisanzio

    Barking dogs, crying brats, noisy radios, shouting moms, drunk fellows… Hell has a special place for each one. And for stupid commentators as well.

    • Colonel Mustard

      What about cowardly commentators?

      • Bisanzio

        There’s a special place for you too, of course (lol)

        • Kitty MLB

          giammai. le Colonel ?
          egli succede a essere un galantumo de il primo acque

          • Bisanzio

            This sentence is not in French, nor Italian nor Latin. In other words: even if I can grasp the meaning, it has no sense at all.

          • Kitty MLB

            That Dr Watson was the whole point.
            Somewhat like this thread. You were never meant to grasp the meaning….there is none.

          • Bisanzio

            Well, instead the sentence has a meaning for an Italian speaker. This kind of sentences are used in humoristic movies to moke middleage speaking.

        • Colonel Mustard

          But I wasn’t referring to me. I was referring to you.

          My special place is already booked and it isn’t for cowardice (or using moronic abbreviations like ‘lol’).

          • Bisanzio

            Maybe you should learn to be clearer, though. Not sure you can, since the comments you spam around: selfish, annoying and provocative, always devoid of depth and sustance.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Its substance. And that is just your opinion. And if it were true and you were differently inclined politically you would lay that at telemachus’ door not mine.

            As for provocation, shallowness and lack of substance I refer you to your own first comment above which provoked an interesting response. But then people like you are never much for self-awareness when it comes to your own hypocrisy.

          • Bisanzio

            Interesting. I don’t remember we have never shared a meal. But then you know my political inclination and what kind of person I am. You must be a great observer, to know everything just from a comment. Probably you were born with such a knowledge, it is the only explanation to your being judgemental. And since you don’t like moronic abbreviations (you were born in the wrong country, for this) let me adding: Laughing Out Loud.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I don’t know you from Adam but I recognise the stink of hypocrisy when I smell it. And you have just let one go again. You were happy laying down your judgements on others from just our comments but when the teeth snap in your direction it’s suddenly a different story. You can laugh as hard and as long as you like but it won’t alter the realities of this exchange.

            You can have the last word.

  • John Smith

    Councils should focus their efforts on the few irresponsible owners ..

    All dog owners have met them

    The ones with packs of uncontrolled dogs, that upon savaging your dog, or seen hanging off your ankle riposte with ‘He/ she has NEVER done that before’

    They are so righteous that no amount of poor behaviour makes them one bit more responsible in walking their monsters, on public land

    Instead the Council will throw out the baby (dog) with the bathwater

    • Emilia

      Many councils have stopped having dog wardens, due to the cuts. So there’s no-one to try and sort this out.

  • Gwangi

    Maybe the irresponsible dog owners are the selfish, extremist fascists here eh?
    An easy solution: muzzle all dogs always. That happens in many countries.
    I am sick and tried of dogs roaming around attacking cats, people, children and messing everywhere. These dog owners should be pursued and fined heavily.
    I don’t blame the dogs of course – but they are wolves really and pack animals, and can easily kill.

    • Thank you for yet another example of the sort of unreasonable, over-imaginative hysterical attitude we’re up against….

      • Gwangi

        Well, would you call everyone in the many countries and cities where dogs are muzzled hysterical?
        Most places I have been in central and Eastern Europe muzzle dogs. Go on the Prague metro and see for yourself. I hear it’s also compulsory in Canada.
        Dogs are all dangerous animals – esp if they get in a pack, because they have that mentality.
        It is you who are unreasonable for refusing to be considerate to others by muzzling your dog. Probably you let it dump everywhere too, as so many others (who should all be pursued and fined).

        • Sarka

          Um…where have you been in East Europe except the Prague metro? I have lived in and around Prague for over two decades now. True, dogs have to be muzzled on the metro (not that this is enforced for small dogs, often to be seen in the metro ensconced in owners’ bags, with their unmuzzled heads poking out.). But this is obviously sensible. The metro is often very crowded and a frightened dog unmuzzled might easily be a hazard.

          Overground in Prague, however, you will find unmuzzled dogs everywhere. There is no legal requirement for dogs to be muzzled, or to be on a leash except in a few areas. Go to any of the capital’s larger parks and you will see dogs bounding about and playing. Take a walk especially in early evening in any suburb and you will find owners walking the dog in any street – elderly ladies with their dachshunds (Vienna dogs) a piece of typical local colour – with dogs only on the leash (like my ma-in-law’s) if insufficiently trained to be trusted off it. Many pubs and restaurants welcome dogs…Our first dog (a rottie!), was in love with pubs because he would get so much favourable attention in them, barmaids bringing him water, and with any luck some other free treat involving sausages. Indeed, he so much associated pubs with treats that he had a tendency to try to run into any that we were passing. I now live in the country just outside Prague, and my present dog – medium sized, not aggressive – has long walks everyday and at eight has never been muzzled in his life – he;s never been on the metro. Only rarely do I bother with a lead, though I carry one and use it whenever necessary (other unknown dogs in sight, heavy traffic etc…)

          Do not be deceived by the muzzle rule on the metro – Czecho has the highest proportion of dogs to population of any EU country except for Ireland (but unlike Ireland, most are pets/guards not working farmdogs). Czech culture is dog-obsessed (family dog-stories are THE social icebreaker, even in..er.. otherwise tricky conversations with a policeman or official.)… Not for nothing was its most famous national writer, Jaroslav Hasek of Good Soldier Svejk fame, at one time in his very chequered career a dog breeder – when he advertised “two purebred werewolves” in the press for a lark, he was overwhelmed with excited inquiries, and Czechs haven’t changed much since then, The Czechs even notoriously bred – as national breed – a dog that was a mixture of wolf. Geman Shepherd and husky – not a great success, because they were timid and hard to train rather than because they were ravening, but you still see some…

          All this makes it hard for the small but vocal Czech anti-dog minority. Sometimes they have a point. As in England, police often fail to prosecute owners who allow their dogs to be intimidating pests. There IS far too much dogshit in Czech parks – though owners are becoming more responsible. When dogs occasionally cause serious injury or death, we have the same debates as in the UK, though as in the UK, most such tragic incidents take place in homes and gardens, not in the street or parks, so muzzle and leash laws would not prevent them.

          Germany and Austria probably have more regulation – Slovakia is the same as here, Poland and Hungary comparable. If you’re very worried about dogs, then stay away from E. Europe unless you want to spend your trip going round and round in the Metro……

    • Bill Thomas

      Muzzling does not stop them cr*pp*ng.

      • Gwangi

        Nope. But that’s why we have CCTV eh? I’d like to see those dog owners who allow their dogs to foul the footpath pursued and fined heavily.

        • startledcod

          Fascinating, we have CCTV installed to record dogs pooing, never heard that as an explanation.

  • Yes yes yes — and I live in Florida! The beaches, and many small parks also, do not permit dogs. Occasionally there will be a tiny penned area for dogs (a ‘paw park’ or whatever cutesy name they give it), but this is no good for me. I don’t really want to be cooped up with other people’s dogs, but more to the point, my dog doesn’t get on with other dogs so that’s no solution.

    ‘The real crime is owning a dog at all’: oh yes, which is why I get grim-faced lectures from people in my neighbourhood when my dog widdles and I don’t ‘pick it up’ (I kid you not — and I got no apology when I made the facts clear, too). Or when I do pick up but my dog has had the nerve to stray a foot off the public sidewalk to do it on someone’s bit of turf.* I’ve taken to going to the large state park next door for nearly all her walks because it’s the only place I can go without being harassed by anti-dog people.

    *I do think that in parks my usual method of covering the business with pine needles or palm fronds is better than bagging it and then leaving the bags by the roadside, as some owners do. What are they thinking? They’ve bagged it, so they’ve done more than enough? That IS arrogant. I also think that letting nature take care of my dog’s unseen and undetected business — she is the most discreet animal you can imagine, and always takes herself off away from any path — is better than using up umpteen million tons of plastic bag. Wild animals, if I may say so, cr*p all over the park (which is a real park with trails you can get lost in!).

    • msher

      I am committing the sin of responding to your post without having read the article you are posting about. So apologies if I am completely off subject.
      I am a dog lover and I have had dogs I let out into designated parks. I do understand, though, why many people get upset. Some dog owners do many unpardonable things. I’ll get to that in a minute. The point is that when people see lots of abuse, they may be over sensitive and sometimes react when there is no reason to. I know I’m capable of that and on the subjects which really bother me, I have to be very careful to not knee-jerk react. For example, I have a relative 80% of whose speech is meant to humiliate me, stick a knife in my back or mislead me. Of course I react hostilely and aggressively to anything this person says to me. When I do that to the 20% which is neutral, I look like an ass and everyone wonders why I am so over-sensitive. I have to watch very carefully to not react to the 20% which is neutral. That’s the analogy I’m trying to use for many non-dog owners or even dog owners who have watched lots of bad behavior by dog owners.
      I don’t want dogs peeing on my lawn. For one thing, dogs get into habits and often regularly pee in the same place. So the owner who walks by everyday and lets the dog pee on my lawn once, may end up with a dog who does it every day. It’s not good for my lawn, and suppose I have a small lawn and want to walk barefoot on it or sit on it. I don’t want to walk barefoot or sit on a lawn with a lot of pee in it. I’m not crazy about having dog feces on the lawn either, even if picked up. It sort of makes in unappealing to then sit or walk on that part of the lawn. We all have to live with each other, and rigidity doesn’t work. So I don’t say anything to people whose dogs occasionally pee on my lawn or who defecate but they pick it up. I do say something to people who pass regularly and whose dogs regularly use my lawn.
      Re parks. I’m not sure whether you are quoting someone or speaking yourself. Whoever is saying they leave the feces I might want to shoot. If I bring my dog to that park, I don’t want to step in another dog’s feces. It happens and it’s a risk you take. But for anyone to think it’s a good thing to leave feces for others to step in I think is wrong. Actually, I want to say: is a deluded, selfish, excuse making creep. I didn’t say that in case it was you who holds that view. Whoever said that was comparing leaving the feces and covering it (yeah, so someone else is even more
      likely to step in it) is better than bagging it and leaving it by the side of the road. Well, who said you should bag it and leave it by the side of the road? I think you made that point, yourself. Those people are pigs too. The dog owner’ responsibility is to bag it and get it into a proper trash receptacle. Usually designated dog parks have such receptacles. Yes, that uses plastic (although, if you’re worried about that, you could use newspaper), but I believe the right of others to not step into the crap trumps.
      All of this is a lot of trouble for the dog owner. I don’t own a dog now, precisely because I don’t want to deal with all of the effort.
      I don’t think beaches should permit dogs. People should be able to walk on beaches and let their children play without worrying about dog feces and urine. BUT I think it would be great if an occasional beach were designated as a dog beach. It could be conspicuously signed as such. Then people would know and decide whether they wanted to be on it or not.
      Again, apologies if I have weighed in and am completely irrelevant to whatever is really being discussed or if I have misread your post.

      • Hi M. I guarantee that my dog does not widdle in the same place twice. She’s just too variable and we go everywhere so it never happens. Even the chap that quasi-complained when she pooped just off the sidewalk, just inside his property line couldn’t really because not only did he catch me in the act of tying up the whoopsie-bag I’d just used, but also as I told him, this was the first time she had ever pooped on his turf. And it will be the last time. But there is a community assumption that dogs must go, and they go outside, and owners cannot cherry-pick which bits of lawn / households the dog will go on and which it won’t. That’s an unreasonable demand to place on dog-parents: in fact, it’s impossible. I can only control so much.

        As I say, I prefer taking her to the park. You ought to have read my comment. My dog — perhaps because she is naturally bright and also has been well brought up! — does not poop in the middle of a trail or on a path, she goes off to the side where people don’t walk. Then, I take a large clump of natural material and lay it comprehensively on top, treading on it if there’s a breeze. I guarantee that no one has ever discovered where my dog has been, since it’s impossible to slip in/tread on/spy, and again, it’s always somewhere different in a landscape of several hundred square acres. It dries quickly in the Florida sun and decomposes as all animal feces do. No one is inconvenienced, and I don’t have to swing a nasty bag for the entire duration of the walk!

        • msher

          I saw in your comment about your dog going off to the side. There are quotation marks around part of the paragraph. As I said, I couldn’t tell what you were quoting that someone else wrote and what you were writing yourself. Also you didn’t say it was that big of park. I was thinking of the usual city park which might at most be a few square blocks. We’ve both had experience in Central Park. I am all for there being some dog parts. But lots of dog owners let their dogs stray further, and I have stepped in dog crap.

          I said to live with one another in society, no one can be rigid. Hence, I don’t do anything about the dog who occasionally uses my property. But I have lived in places with neighbors who thought it was fine to walk their dogs every day and stop at my lawn for the dog to do its business. That has happened more than once. Yes, those dogs get trained to go in a particular place. And I have a big problem with those owners.

          I love dogs, incidentally, as long as they are big. I don’t like the little, nervous yip-yaps. (I guess I wouldn’t like a big nervous yip-yap either.) I have always wanted to have the biggest Great Dane on the planet. I never bought one, because their life span is short and it would be really sad to lose the dog at age 8.

          • My dog will be 8 next August. Hoping to have her for another few years…. My plumber today said he’d had Boxers but after them, Great Danes, and thinks they both have great characters. However, I wouldn’t want a dog that’s bigger than I am! And anyway, since the Boxer is the zenith of dogdom for me, I can’t see wanting anything else.

          • fly_fisher


            As a dog lover you’re going to love this one.


          • Well I like Ol’ Red but Blake Shelton’s rather an eyefull, too : )

          • msher

            I don’t know anything about the lifespan of boxers. Danes and the other huge dogs are known to have short life spans.

          • Boxers too, unfortunately. My plumber’s dog died at 15, but that’s got to be some sort of record. I don’t know why they don’t live longer. Foxes are even worse (the average age at death is about three, I recall reading.)

        • Kitty MLB

          Perhaps we should all move to warm and exotic Florida,
          ( would be useful for watching the tennis at the moment, at least)
          The issue in this damp land, is everything stays wet, and when the grass gets too long, its quite yuk.
          Yet if Rover were to wander off into the wilds, its less noticeable and indeed wild animals also poop, but obviously
          elsewhere there are bins in parks and non dog area on beaches.
          As a equal cat and dog person, I think the felines have the ideal life, less dependant , go out on their ‘ little rotas’ to avoid bumping into each other! they bury their mess and the only thing
          they are guilty of is being furry assassins.

        • msher

          P.S another email for you.

  • mariandavid

    Has democracy ended in Britain? Here in Canada we have the same overzealous grabbers of dogs (or for that matter anything a local by-law has been invented to forbid). But instead of whining we simply form groups that inform the local councilors that dog-owners are a large and pushy constituency that votes. Result lots of dog parks. Try doing the same.

    • Depends what you mean by ‘dog parks’. If you mean ‘dog playgrounds’, that’s no use for those of us that want to walk in nature, by ourselves, like other people — with our dog. Mine does not get on with other canines even though she was socialized to many different people and dogs from earliest puppyhood. It’s just something I have to accept as it won’t change. So I need to take her places that aren’t jammed with other people’s dogs.

      • mariandavid

        My standard poodle is also offended by inferior species like other dogs – although the dog parks are very popular we too prefer a stroll through some lonely space. Though I imagine, living in Ontario, that I have more freedom with off leash walking along abandoned rail-trails than in much of Europe.

        • Where abouts in Ontario, Marian? I don’t know the place perfectly but did live there for a long time (Toronto).

          • mariandavid

            Mississauga, just to the east. And we are VERY emphatic that our mayor is not the wretched Ford of Toronto!

          • I bet you are! : )

  • Oscar’s Wilde

    Since we can’t predict civilization a century from now, it is incorrect to think that progress simply depends upon applying today’s ideas.

  • Emilia

    Anyone who has had to scrape dog poo off pram and wheelchair wheels will know why dogs must not be out except on leads, so the owner has to stand with them while they foul our streets and with luck will be shamed into removing it. As for beaches, allow dogs between late September and Easter perhaps, but if you have ever seen the sheer terror on a child’s face as a massive animal charges up and pees on his sandcastle, or had a child rush up to you with poo all over its hands, having come upon some over which a caring owner has casually kicked sand, you might be less inclined to want complete freedom for the creatures.
    Yes, some owners are responsible, but as in all things in society, the innocent have to have their freedom somewhat curtailed to try and limit the excesses of the irresponsible. I detest the self-righteous owners who let their dogs run free in the countryside, sure that THEIR little precious would never chase sheep, and abusive if you gently point out the Dog on Leads signs on every gate.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Lets hope you apply the reasoning of “the innocent have to have their freedom somewhat curtailed to try and limit the excesses of the irresponsible” to the parents of irresponsible, unruly kids too. Somehow I doubt it.

  • justalittlebitofthis

    It’s a good job that the German’s never won the war.. The people may have found out that Jewish Bolshevik’s Vladimir Lenin and Leon ‘Bronstein’ Trotsky murdered 16.5 million people in Russia and the Ukraine from 1921-48 during Holodomor.
    Aren’t we lucky !

  • Anne Bennett

    Please don’t let this be a children versus dog debate. There are unruly, badly behaved children, just as there are unruly, badly behaved dogs. To be properly exercised dogs, need to be off lead for a good proportion of any walk but the space for that walk is usually shared by others, so your dog should learn some manners. I shouldn’t need to address the issue of fouling because picking up after your dog is second nature to responsible dog owners, but your dog should also not be allowed to run at people.including children, who may be afraid of dogs, or chase cars, cyclists or joggers or get involved in someone elses game of football or other ball games. They should learn to leave other people’s picnics and barbecues well alone, not attack any other dog and come back when they are called. Many of these rules could and should also be applied to children as they are not born respectful, well mannered little people. With consideration for everyone, liberally sprinkled with tolerance there is room for all of us. Channel your anger and energy not in fighting not each other but attacking the attitude of the Councils who set up the DCOs and and the draconian dog police who try to enforce them.

  • NewburyExile

    These security officers should be reported to the police for impersonating police officers; council employees who try to follow people to their homes should be reported to the police for stalking and harassment. The council chief officers and members who have authorised this behaviour and who have imposed dog control orders without consultation or erecting visible signage should be reported to the police for misconduct in a public office and misfeasance of public funds.
    Once a prosecution has succeeded councils will fall over themselves to back down.

  • chris fyson

    Dear Josie Appleton,
    When, oh when will dog owners and dog lovers ever realise that not everyone on this planet is a dog lover.
    I go running almost every day in some nearby Forestry Comission woodlands ( Cardinham in Cornwall ), which is a very popular place with dog walkers.
    I am TIRED of dogs jumping up at me ( invariably going for my privates ) ( which is pretty unpleasant anyway and especially when wearing shorts. ) I am also tired of being run after by dogs whose owners call out to me, ‘It’s OK, he’s just playing’. (If I did that to the owners, they would prosecute me for assault ). Once I was knocked over by a dog chasing another dog. Dogs often have VERY loud barking habits which is also quite threatening. I am always glad when I have gone past a group of dogs. ( Why do people have to have three four or even FIVE dogs ???
    Also, just because it has been permitted for dogs to be exercised for several generations in an area doesn’t mean that the owners have a inalienable right to carry on doing this for ever and ever, Amen.
    Lastly, I am VERY TIRED of dog owners who collect their dog faeces in a plastic bag and then leave the whole THING by the side of the path and walk off. Do they expect the Forestry Commission/ Local Council etc employs SERVANTS to come and clear this all up ???
    Perhaps if dog owners policed themselves to make sure that they all acted resposibly, there would be no need for local councils to do this and we could all co-exist happily.
    Yours sincerely, Chris Fyson.

  • Jose Rodriguez

    Since prices serve as the free market’s communications beacons, government attempts to set prices of goods and services distort the signals that guide market players.

  • sharren

    I live in an area where there is lots of woods and large grass places to walk dogs which are almost next to the paths…or a short 5 min walk away. My street has loads of dogs..and most of the owners do not care…they let the dogs run loose on the streets and walk yards behind them never picking up behind them…I have had poo outside my door , sometimes you have to pick your way over paths to avoid it. I like dogs and my neighbour makes the effort to walk his dog in the woods but the other people make me want to ban dogs from streets (well ban the people from having dogs). One lady walks her yappy little dog down the path outside everyones houses all the time..you can hear it coming as it barks the whole way, setting off every dog in the row till she passes the end….she does not need to walk her dog along the path at all as there is plenty of mini field like areas….these people chose to be lazy dog owners…they chose to not pick up after their animals and that is what needs to be addressed…catching them however is near impossible so they get away with it day after day. This article seems very extreme and I am sure a better way be used to deal with the problem…the few irresponsibe dogs owners (sadly there are many) ruin it for everyone.

  • lynn webster

    King George V Playing Field in Morecambe has just become a dog free area, thanks to the school and football club. I’ve been walking my dogs for 16 years. My disabled friend was fined on Christmas Eve.

  • lynn webster

    Would happily join other people with protests. There are a lot of people here who disagree with what the council are doing. They really are like Nazis. They would rather give fines to responsible dog walkers than to a burglar, vandal, disruptive alcoholic or drug abusers.