The Kennel Club is supporting local dog owners who are calling for Cardiff Council to reconsider proposed PSPOs which would affect responsible dog owners in the area. Measures that the council are looking to introduce include a dog ban from marked sports pitches even if they are not in use, increasing the charge for a breach of the PSPO to £100 and proof that dog walkers have a means to pick up their dog poo.
The council have also not provided clear maps to highlight which areas are going to be affected but have offered a list that indicates over 2400 public spaces in Cardiff that could be subject to restrictions.
The Kennel Club strongly oppose year round blanket bans on playing fields. For many dog walkers playing fields take up large sections of their local parks and having access to this green space is essential for their dogs to get the exercise they need.
Local dog walkers have set up their own website to outline their objections and started a Change.org petition that has already gained over 5000 signatures. They are concerned that the PSPO stops responsible dog owners walking their dogs freely and will not address the issue that irresponsible dog ownership presents. They believe the council should tackle irresponsible dog ownership in other ways such as enforcing the current laws to make people pick up after their dogs, and work in partnership with local people to find a solution that supports the local and national wider policy frameworks such as health & wellbeing and access to open spaces.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Whilst we understand that for safety reasons dogs shouldn’t be on the pitches whilst a game is in play, we see no reason why dogs should not be able to exercise on them when they are not in use, which is the majority of the time.
Off lead exercise is extremely important and is a requirement under the Code of Practice for dogs under the Animal Welfare Act. If residents are unable to comply with guidance which includes the provision of off lead exercise then they would have to drive to neighbouring areas to do so. The lack of provision for off lead exercise and complete dog bans is also likely to put off other dog owners from visiting the area, which again will have a knock-on effect on the ‘paw pound’ – those local businesses which are reliant on their dog walking visitors.
“It has been reported that the majority of dog owners and walkers in Cardiff behave responsibly and it is a small minority who aren’t playing their part, which is why it is such a shame that the council are proposing these measures. There are far more effective ways of targeting the few irresponsible dog owners than simply imposing blanket restrictions for all – especially when it is likely that without effective enforcement, the original perpetrators will continue their anti-social behaviour”.
The Kennel Club urges the council to consider introducing targeted measures aimed at particular irresponsible dog owners, as they have the power to do under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and to consider the proposals set out by the Kennel Club in its report ‘Out of Order: The Impact of Access Restrictions on Dogs and their Owners’, especially since the Kennel Club is listed in the guidance as an organisation which should be consulted. It is hoped that the council as part of the consultation process will engage with the Kennel Club.