COUNCIL URGED TO RELAX RESTRICTIONS FOR DOG WALKERS AS NEW LOCKDOWN BEGINS

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The RSPCA has renewed calls for local authorities – including the Isle of Wight Council – to consider easing some locally-imposed rules on where dogs can be exercised to help dog walkers comply with lockdown rules and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Many Councils across England and Wales have previously introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), which often include strict rules on where dogs cannot be walked. There have long been fears that this can restrict suitable dog walking spots in some local communities.

As England enters another national lockdown the RSPCA has renewed its calls for Councils to explore a temporary relaxation of PSPOs related to dog walking to help stop unnecessary travel; enabling dog walkers to exercise within their immediate communities and comply with lockdown measures.

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In England, as of 5th January, people may only exercise once a day, though multiple people from the same household can use this daily exercise to walk the same dog. These restrictions can create issues for dog walkers who may have local options for exercising their canine companions curtailed by PSPOs. There is concern this could encourage some people to travel to find suitable dog walking spots for their animals – potentially unwittingly breaching COVID-19 rules in the interests of their dog’s welfare and exercise needs.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA’s companion animals department, said:

“With England and Wales now both in national lockdowns, there are clear restrictions in place concerning exercise, which will impact many dog walkers.

“In England, exercise is again limited to once per day – and should not be done outside the local area; while in Wales, while exercise is unlimited, this must start and begin at someone’s home.

“Many local authorities have previously introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders that stop dogs being walked in certain areas – including some sports pitches, green areas and fields. In some areas, there are concerns this restricts the availability of suitable dog walking spots.

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“With restrictions now back in place on travel for exercise, this can really limit the dog walking options some people have and creates something of a postcode lottery for dogs and their owners – with many PSPOs across England and Wales meaning local marked sports pitches and fields can be out of bounds too for dog walkers.

“If dog owners do not have adequate space to exercise their dogs near their homes, they may make journeys beyond their immediate communities and unwittingly breach Covid-19 rules, aimed to stop the spread of this awful disease. We’re calling on local authorities to be flexible at this time and temporarily relax PSPOs where it is safe and appropriate to do so, to help keep people local and protect dog welfare.”

The RSPCA is also advising the public to keep dogs on leads at this time – to help ensure social distancing and avoid owners having to come into close contact with one another should they have to go and retrieve their dog.

Owners of dogs have also been reminded that a friend, relative or someone in the local community may be able to help a vulnerable person, or someone who is self-isolating, with their dog walking – but to closely follow guidance on handover protocols and safety from the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG).

Dog walking rules in England

From 5th January 2021  
·  People must limit exercise away from the home to once daily.

·  People should not travel outside of the local area to exercise.

·  Each person in a household can use their daily exercise to walk the same dog.

·  If you are self-isolating, use your garden as a place for your dog to toilet and play.

·  Someone else may be able to help walk your dog, but must follow advice.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
15 Comments
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Helen Highwater
Helen Highwater
14 days ago

When will someone invent a “dog toilet” so that the things can be “walked” in owners’ gardens?

JHVF
JHVF
Reply to  Helen Highwater
14 days ago

You can buy them on line, but will people do it ? I’m fed up with bleaching my boots

Andy
Andy
14 days ago

Couldn’t agree more Helen.

Jax
Jax
Reply to  Andy
14 days ago

The problem is with just merely ‘picking up’ is it leave behind a sticky invisible germ and parasite infested patch, where if dogs are doing their business in children or adult sports areas, it is all too easy to have UNKNOWN contact with this seething mass of germs, worms eggs, and even viruses. Hence in Summer many have picnics and sit down just where a dog has only moments before deposited a pile, a child touching that area and eating or as children do, putting hands in mouths etc, could so easily become seriously harmed. Dog owners ought to be… Read more »

Mr Mark
Mr Mark
Reply to  Jax
14 days ago

How disgustingly accurate of you Jax. Tbh I had never thought of that risk, but it is so true.
We often have beach picnics and we do the usual scan for any deposits, but yes, only a short while before God only knows what had been left there for our children to unwittingly contact.

Good idea about the spray.

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Jax
14 days ago

I only take mine to the countryside. Never go near parks playgrounds etc and my dog is trained to “go” when asked or on my own property. There are very irresponsible owners around.

Jax
Jax
Reply to  Smithy
13 days ago

Smithy, I am fully aware of that, I have had dogs all my life and only take them out in the countryside where a pile off the path is not likely to do any real harm. So not having a dig at all pet owners, just those who now feel playgrounds are fair game so long as ‘most’ is scraped up’ then absolving themselves of feeling that they are no longer causing a risk. Not so high in Winter, but Summer time is awful.

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Jax
13 days ago

Point taken!

Simon
Simon
Reply to  Jax
10 days ago

No, it is Not fine in the countryside. Owners should pick up wherever they are, if you think is dangerous for children then it’s dangerous to livestock.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Jax
9 days ago

Hence Corona Virus… who knows what will be next.. so many nasty things left behind from uncaring people…. spitting, litter… walking in bare feet dragging those germs etc., to other -places.. year ago bare feet was not so bad, but filthier uncaring people are in abundance now..

Smithy
Smithy
14 days ago

Here we go .. all the usual dog haters just love airing their comments. We are not all the same so stop treating us all the same please. Dogs give a lot of people lots of reasons to enjoy life and also do lots of good in all sorts of ways ie guide dogs assistance dogs police dogs sniffer dogs lifeguard dogs the list goes on.Stop being so critical and small minded.

Last edited 14 days ago by Smithy
Smithy
Smithy
14 days ago

Or do like a few dog owners I know and use the lockdown as an excuse to not bother walking their dog at all! Disgraceful and shouldn’t have them

Marion Tanner
Marion Tanner
13 days ago

I got my dog following my daughter, who was also a good friend died from leukaemia at 32 years old.i had never had a dog but having one now has enabled me to get out and about when I really thought I would never do this again.
I try at all times to pick every trace of mess up and only go where we are allowed.i know there are some dirty lazy people who own dogs but many people arent like that .I’m happy enough to stick to the rules as they are .

Last edited 13 days ago by Marion Tanner
Jason Faulkner
Jason Faulkner
Reply to  Marion Tanner
12 days ago

Marion, few would blame people who try to clear up as best they can, what the concern is here, is allowing dogs to foul, even if cleaned up, on places where the public do sports etc, where they can’t but help touching the grass with hands etc, which, may be fouled. IF dogs mess is picked up on pavements or anywhere people are unlikely to sit, or play sports etc, then there is no problem. Dogs do give a lot of love and are invaluable to humans. Sorry to hear of your loss, and don’t think anyone is against dog… Read more »

Mygod
Mygod
9 days ago

don’t worry animals will still roam the planet when we have left it. Thank god.

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