The council’s consultation on dog control orders ends tomorrow, so the news that two other councils, Lambeth and Southwark, are seeking to emulate the Wandsworth approach to dog-chipping is timely.
The dog control order consultation was extended following some rather misleading coverage in the press – I know of at least one campaign that was started under the misunderstanding dogs were going to be banned from Battersea Park (in fact they are just banned from children’s play areas and the sports facilities, places they wouldn’t be walked anyway). I have stated before that while I instinctively dislike additional regulation, the actions of a minority of irresponsible dog owners have made it necessary.
A few months ago I wrote about dog fouling on the Shaftesbury Park Estate. The council’s dog control unit patrolled the area – in and out of uniform – but unfortunately achieved little, certainly if judged by the pavements near my house this morning. While they did speak with some dog owners, none were caught doing anything we can take action over because, bizarrely, allowing your dog to foul the gutter or around a tree base is absolutely fine. There is no need to pick up afterwards.
Likewise (and many are surprised to hear this) they have no powers to instruct dog owners to put their dogs on a leash on the public highway. I know many, especially those with young children, feel uneasy when they see dogs of all breeds, on the streets and not under the direct and immediate control of their owner.
The council’s proposals are, I think, a reasonable and proportionate response to the fears and issues around irresponsible dog-ownership. If you agree, I’d encourage you to go to respond to the council’s consultation, you can find out more at the council’s dog control consultation page.