The Kennel Club is calling on dog owners who live in Hastings to respond to a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) consultation that could severely impact their access to popular locations with their dogs, including parks and beaches.
The proposed PSPO would see dog owners unable to walk their dog off lead across a significant number of outdoor spaces, including all parks and gardens with a children’s playground or open play area, between 9am-5pm. Furthermore, the proposals also look to restrict dog walkers from allowing their dogs off-lead on local beaches during the weekends, over the winter period.
The organisation has also raised concerns that these measures could not only negatively impact the welfare of local dogs in the area, but also the safety of dog walkers.
Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, said: “We are urging dog owners and walkers in Hastings to let their voices be heard and respond to this consultation.
“We believe the proposed blanket requirement to keep dogs on leads during these times is excessive and unnecessary. We are not opposed to the principle of restrictions on dog walkers, as long as alternative provisions are put in place and are easily accessible by those in the area.
“Dog owners are required to provide for the welfare needs of their pet and this includes enabling them to have the necessary amount of exercise each day, something which is greatly impacted by the amount of publicly accessible areas that can be used without restrictions, affecting the ability for dogs to be properly exercised as well as posing a threat to the social bonds between dogs and their owners. Similarly, only allowing dog walkers to exercise their dogs off lead after 5pm in many sites has safety implications, particularly when daylight hours are limited.”
The Kennel Club is urging the council to consider alternative proactive measures to help promote responsible dog ownership throughout the local area, and to make use of more flexible and targeted measures, such as ‘On lead by direction’ Orders.
To respond to the consultation, please visit https://hastings.citizenlab.co/en-GB/folders/dog-control by 16 October.
There is further advice for dog owners facing access issues on The Kennel Club website, which can be found by visiting thekennelclub.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/access-for-owners-and-dogs