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Britain Betraying Man’s Best Friend As ‘Dog Ghettos’ Fear Arises

29 September 2013    10:00
 
  • 42 per cent of dog owners worry they will be forced into overcrowded 'dog parks'
  • Almost one in three say their area underperforms when it comes to dog friendly credentials
  • Businesses are losing out on the 'hound pound' as more than half of dog owners say they would use local shops and services more frequently if they were dog friendly
  • Kennel Club launches its Open for Dogs Week (30thSeptember to 4thOctober) to encourage businesses and workplaces to reap the rewards of trialling a dog friendly policy

Almost half of Britain's dog owners fear they could become marginalised by society and forced into restricted areas, as more and more places are clamping down on dogs and their owners across the UK.

The Kennel Club has found that man's best friends aren't necessarily being treated as such, and has released the results of a survey of over 2,000 dog owners[i] for the launch of its Open for Dogs Week this week. The survey found that 42 per cent of dog owners in the UK fear that they will be forced into a small number of overcrowded dog-friendly parks as local authorities close their public spaces to dogs by issuing draconian dog control orders. 

Since the start of 2011, the Kennel Club has formally responded to more than 70 dog control order consultations, indicating a decline in the number of places which welcome dogs.  Almost one in three dog owners say that their area performs under par when it comes to its dog friendly credentials and 40 per cent say that the attitude towards dogs has got worse when it comes to places to go, meaning dog owners face frustration when trying to take their dogs out with them for the day. A quarter report that shops that were previously dog friendly are now less so, and almost one in five say the same of pubs.

This is a worrying trend which is likely to have a knock on effect for Britain's businesses, many of which may suffer a loss in business and miss out on the valuable so-called 'hound pound'.  Kennel Club research has shown that dog owners are almost twice as likely as those without a dog to regularly visit their local shops and stores, with a quarter saying that they frequent them, and more than half of people with dogs would be more likely to use local shops and services more frequently if their dogs could go with them.  In addition, dog owners were found to spend 22 per cent more a month on eating out and drinking in pubs and restaurants than non-dog owners, meaning that dog friendly businesses are reaping the rewards.

Lee de Villier, who runs the Old Sergeant pub in Wandsworth, South West London, said: "Letting dogs into the pub has been nothing but good for the business for us.  Both our dog owning and non-dog owning customers love it and it has improved the atmosphere of the place as a whole.

"Being dog friendly helped us to secure the award of Best Community Pub in the Great British Pub Awards in 2012, as we consider dogs to be an integral part of the community, as many people do.  We get lots of positive feedback from customers and often get people enquiring about the pub on Twitter because they have heard that we are so dog friendly."

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "It is a worry that, as more places ban dogs, more often than not unnecessarily, owners around the UK will be pushed into restricted areas with their pets which just won't be big enough to cater for the demand.

"We refer to dogs as being man's best friend, but as a country we don't seem to be showing this, as we increasingly turn our backs on dogs and stop them from spending time with their owners when out and about in public.

"An increase in dog bans and places becoming less dog friendly gives way to a whole new set of issues, including putting dogs' welfare at risk as owners are forced to leave their dogs in cars, or tied up outside shops and pubs, putting them at risk of being frightened or stolen.

"The Kennel Club wants to see the UK being as faithful to dogs as they are to us, and we are encouraging businesses and workplaces across the UK to open their doors to dogs for the week to experience the many wonderful benefits that being around dogs can bring."

Open for Dogs Week is dedicated to encouraging businesses and workplaces across the UK to trial a dog friendly policy and to experience the many wonderful benefits dogs bring, which include raising levels of serotonin, the so-called 'happy hormone', increasing workplace productivity, and appealing to a potential new market through the millions of dog owning households in the UK.

To find out more about Open for Dogs Week, or to join in, visit www.openfordogs.org.uk.

ENDS


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