The Kennel Club is urging dog owners in Daventry to respond to the local council’s consultation on its proposals to extend its Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). The proposals include the introduction of a controversial dog poo DNA scheme requiring anyone who wants to exercise their dogs off lead in certain areas to first register their dog on a DNA database.
Similar plans have previously been suggested and trialled in Barking and Dagenham and Thanet, but both councils quickly dropped the idea after deeming such a scheme to be impractical, costly and having a negative impact on local dogs and owners as well as visitors to the area. One such scheme resulted in only two identifications of dog fouling and only 2 per cent of the local dog owning population registering during a trial period.
The Kennel Club has long had concerns about compulsory DNA registration and believes it may be a step too far for many dog owners. Daventry’s current PSPOs have previously been hailed a success by the council – one such measure introduced three years ago included a ‘means to pick up’ PSPO where dog walkers had to prove they had an adequate receptacle for which to pick up their dog’s poo. However, this was relatively cheap and quick to implement in comparison to a DNA scheme.
As a DNA scheme for dog fouling has never officially been put in to practice anywhere in the UK, there are still a lot of unknown factors for a council to consider including costs, what steps would be taken to ensure people register their correct details, and how the system will comply with the new data protection laws. It is also important that a council includes exemptions for those physically unable to pick up after their dog due to a disability.
The Kennel Club also has concerns about some of Daventry’s other proposals such as excluding dogs from marked sports pitches across the borough. Although the pitches would be clearly marked and apparent to dog owners, dogs themselves would not recognise the markings and so it would become difficult for dog owners to exercise their dogs off lead in open spaces where there are marked sports pitches, unless they were enclosed. When such a proposal was considered in Coventry, dog owners campaigned successfully for this to be rejected.
Dog owners wanting to have their say on the proposals are urged to complete the council’s online survey by the deadline of midnight on Tuesday 24th July.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Kennel Club is firmly in favour of targeted measures to deal with irresponsible dog owners but simply does not believe that a DNA registration scheme would be effective. In our view it would penalise responsible dog owners in the area and make things difficult for law-abiding citizens. We would like to work with Daventry council to assist them in finding other, more effective methods of targeting the minority of irresponsible dog owners.”
The Kennel Club runs a campaign group, KC Dog, which aims to protect the rights of dog owners and ensure that any decisions made that might affect where they may or may not walk their dogs is fair and proportionate. Read more information on our campaign: access for owners and dogs.