Letter: Dog lead order not needed in rural areas

First published in Opinion

Regular readers of The Westmorland Gazette may recall the various articles that appeared last year regarding dog fouling and control of dogs, including South Lakeland District Council's proposals to enact certain dog control orders (backed up by a questionn-aire and local 'road show').

I wonder how many of those same readers were aware of the Notice inserted by SLDC in the January 31 edition of the Gazette, inviting representations regarding the four dog control orders now being proposed?

Three of the orders are to be welcomed and are, I think, likely to be regarded as perfectly sensible by most people (those regarding dog fouling, specific problem dogs being required to be put on leads, and dogs being excluded from certain specified places such as cemetaries and play areas).

However, there is a fourth dog control order that most certainly is not sensible or to be welcomed - the draft (or should that be 'daft') Dogs on Leads (South Lakeland District Council) Order.

That order - the detail of which may be viewed at - is truly an example of using 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut'!

The order is badly thought-out and, I suspect, unenforceable. It is certainly inappropriate in an area which is largely rural or semi-rural, including a National Park!

Representations regarding any or all of the proposed dog control orders may be made in writing to Keith Moore, the Customer Service Manager, South Lakeland District Council, South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal LA9 4UQ, or by e-mail to , before noon on March 4.

I sincerely hope that anyone who values the right to walk their (well-behaved) dogs freely in South Lakeland will take the time to make their views known to the council, even if only by a single-line e-mail message.

C.A. Minahan, Natland

Comments (4)

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7:45am Sat 16 Feb 13

Geoff103 says...

Parks, Childrens' Play Areas, Cemeteries, the various Promenandes, pedestrian areas, roads and streets certainly but:

"This Order will apply to all land in the District of South Lakeland which is:-
i) open to the air (including covered land which is open to the air on at least one
side) and
ii) to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access (with or without
payment).
2. Excepted from the description in paragraph 1 above is land that is placed at the
disposal of the Forestry Commissioners under section 39 (1) of the Forestry Act
1967."

That's about as clear as mud.

The woods behind my home, where I run my dog daily? The sands around Morecambe Bay? The fells?

Are these areas within the description above? Will they be subject to both the proposed fouling and dogs on leads orders.

As far as fouling is concerned in open countryside where there are public rights of way, are farmers liable to clean up after their sheep and cattle? Who is to clear up after foxes, badgers and rabbits?

If nature can manage with the wildlife and farm animals, why not dogs?

Now as far as dogs on leads: in all those areas mentioned, away from roads and traffic is it proposed that our dogs can no longer 'enjoy' a lead-free walk?

I expect all dog walkers to keep their dog under control (a whistle or other command by voice to a properly trained dog is 'control') but not to allow them to run, explore and exercise properly is cruel and heartless.
Parks, Childrens' Play Areas, Cemeteries, the various Promenandes, pedestrian areas, roads and streets certainly but: "This Order will apply to all land in the District of South Lakeland which is:- i) open to the air (including covered land which is open to the air on at least one side) and ii) to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access (with or without payment). 2. Excepted from the description in paragraph 1 above is land that is placed at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners under section 39 (1) of the Forestry Act 1967." That's about as clear as mud. The woods behind my home, where I run my dog daily? The sands around Morecambe Bay? The fells? Are these areas within the description above? Will they be subject to both the proposed fouling and dogs on leads orders. As far as fouling is concerned in open countryside where there are public rights of way, are farmers liable to clean up after their sheep and cattle? Who is to clear up after foxes, badgers and rabbits? If nature can manage with the wildlife and farm animals, why not dogs? Now as far as dogs on leads: in all those areas mentioned, away from roads and traffic is it proposed that our dogs can no longer 'enjoy' a lead-free walk? I expect all dog walkers to keep their dog under control (a whistle or other command by voice to a properly trained dog is 'control') but not to allow them to run, explore and exercise properly is cruel and heartless. Geoff103
  • Score: 3

4:30pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Pringle1982 says...

I'd like to put a proposition forward for parents having to keep their children under supervision at all times in that case.

In the last 4 days I have had two children (one with their parents and one without) runn STRAIGHT out in front of my car without looking. The first incident (on Stramongate where it is NOT pedestrian it's a road!) really shook me up - thank God I was crawling along at 10mph.

My dogs are well behaved and I have enough common sense to NOT let them off the lead where there are lots of people, near a road or where there may be livestock. But in fields behind my house, where there's no playground in sight, no sheep or other livestock in sight and is an unoffcial "dog walking" field why shouldn't I be allowed to exercise them off lead?
I'd like to put a proposition forward for parents having to keep their children under supervision at all times in that case. In the last 4 days I have had two children (one with their parents and one without) runn STRAIGHT out in front of my car without looking. The first incident (on Stramongate where it is NOT pedestrian it's a road!) really shook me up - thank God I was crawling along at 10mph. My dogs are well behaved and I have enough common sense to NOT let them off the lead where there are lots of people, near a road or where there may be livestock. But in fields behind my house, where there's no playground in sight, no sheep or other livestock in sight and is an unoffcial "dog walking" field why shouldn't I be allowed to exercise them off lead? Pringle1982
  • Score: 1

3:53pm Thu 7 Mar 13

jazzactivist says...

I have to disagree with the idea that dogs should be allowed to run free off leads in fields, woodlands, beach etc. I have a dog and walk him every day, but on our walks we always encounter either dog owners struggling to keep dogs under control, or dog walkers allowing their dog/s to foul and not cleaning up afterwards. It shouldn't make a jot of difference whether the dog is being walked along pavements or along country roads or across fields and fells. The owner needs to be in full control of their dog and to clean up after it.

I see people with dogs off leads in the rural area I live in, even though a notice of walks clearly states that they need to be kept on a lead, and on a short one between March and October. I also see dogs being allowed to foul despite another notice warning of a £1000 fine for not clearing up after them!

Today I saw two women walking four dogs off the lead. First one dog fouled on a field path and they didn't even notice, then they allowed their dogs to run ahead to a stile into another field where sheep were grazing. As the women approached the dogs jumped the stile and ran around in the field amongst the sheep. Then another of the dogs fouled in that field (where sheep graze and children walk and sledge). I could tell by their manner that these women were experienced dog walkers, but they didn't even break their chat to deal with their dogs. They presumably imagine that their dogs are under their control should anything dreadful happen, but they clearly weren't in relation to everyday dog-walking responsibilties.

This is just one incident of many that I encounter on a daily basis. Sadly, it seems to me that many dog walkers think they are so good at it that they don't need to abide by sensible rules. Responsible dog walkers who care about others seem to be in the minority. Which is why we need dogs to be kept on leads at all times.
I have to disagree with the idea that dogs should be allowed to run free off leads in fields, woodlands, beach etc. I have a dog and walk him every day, but on our walks we always encounter either dog owners struggling to keep dogs under control, or dog walkers allowing their dog/s to foul and not cleaning up afterwards. It shouldn't make a jot of difference whether the dog is being walked along pavements or along country roads or across fields and fells. The owner needs to be in full control of their dog and to clean up after it. I see people with dogs off leads in the rural area I live in, even though a notice of walks clearly states that they need to be kept on a lead, and on a short one between March and October. I also see dogs being allowed to foul despite another notice warning of a £1000 fine for not clearing up after them! Today I saw two women walking four dogs off the lead. First one dog fouled on a field path and they didn't even notice, then they allowed their dogs to run ahead to a stile into another field where sheep were grazing. As the women approached the dogs jumped the stile and ran around in the field amongst the sheep. Then another of the dogs fouled in that field (where sheep graze and children walk and sledge). I could tell by their manner that these women were experienced dog walkers, but they didn't even break their chat to deal with their dogs. They presumably imagine that their dogs are under their control should anything dreadful happen, but they clearly weren't in relation to everyday dog-walking responsibilties. This is just one incident of many that I encounter on a daily basis. Sadly, it seems to me that many dog walkers think they are so good at it that they don't need to abide by sensible rules. Responsible dog walkers who care about others seem to be in the minority. Which is why we need dogs to be kept on leads at all times. jazzactivist
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Thu 7 Mar 13

Geoff103 says...

jazzactivist wrote:
I have to disagree with the idea that dogs should be allowed to run free off leads in fields, woodlands, beach etc. I have a dog and walk him every day, but on our walks we always encounter either dog owners struggling to keep dogs under control, or dog walkers allowing their dog/s to foul and not cleaning up afterwards. It shouldn't make a jot of difference whether the dog is being walked along pavements or along country roads or across fields and fells. The owner needs to be in full control of their dog and to clean up after it.

I see people with dogs off leads in the rural area I live in, even though a notice of walks clearly states that they need to be kept on a lead, and on a short one between March and October. I also see dogs being allowed to foul despite another notice warning of a £1000 fine for not clearing up after them!

Today I saw two women walking four dogs off the lead. First one dog fouled on a field path and they didn't even notice, then they allowed their dogs to run ahead to a stile into another field where sheep were grazing. As the women approached the dogs jumped the stile and ran around in the field amongst the sheep. Then another of the dogs fouled in that field (where sheep graze and children walk and sledge). I could tell by their manner that these women were experienced dog walkers, but they didn't even break their chat to deal with their dogs. They presumably imagine that their dogs are under their control should anything dreadful happen, but they clearly weren't in relation to everyday dog-walking responsibilties.

This is just one incident of many that I encounter on a daily basis. Sadly, it seems to me that many dog walkers think they are so good at it that they don't need to abide by sensible rules. Responsible dog walkers who care about others seem to be in the minority. Which is why we need dogs to be kept on leads at all times.
How on earth do you find the time to walk a dog whilst making your own breakfast muesli?

As for picking up after dogs in open countryside, you are being absurd. There is simply no need to when nature will deal with their droppings just as effectively as it deals with sheep, cattle, fox, badger etc.

Note, I mean 'open countryside' not paths, or pavements.

Indeed forced picking up where unnecessary will only lead to the grotesque and much worse habit of loaded plastic bags being left on the ground or hanging from fences or bushes.
[quote][p][bold]jazzactivist[/bold] wrote: I have to disagree with the idea that dogs should be allowed to run free off leads in fields, woodlands, beach etc. I have a dog and walk him every day, but on our walks we always encounter either dog owners struggling to keep dogs under control, or dog walkers allowing their dog/s to foul and not cleaning up afterwards. It shouldn't make a jot of difference whether the dog is being walked along pavements or along country roads or across fields and fells. The owner needs to be in full control of their dog and to clean up after it. I see people with dogs off leads in the rural area I live in, even though a notice of walks clearly states that they need to be kept on a lead, and on a short one between March and October. I also see dogs being allowed to foul despite another notice warning of a £1000 fine for not clearing up after them! Today I saw two women walking four dogs off the lead. First one dog fouled on a field path and they didn't even notice, then they allowed their dogs to run ahead to a stile into another field where sheep were grazing. As the women approached the dogs jumped the stile and ran around in the field amongst the sheep. Then another of the dogs fouled in that field (where sheep graze and children walk and sledge). I could tell by their manner that these women were experienced dog walkers, but they didn't even break their chat to deal with their dogs. They presumably imagine that their dogs are under their control should anything dreadful happen, but they clearly weren't in relation to everyday dog-walking responsibilties. This is just one incident of many that I encounter on a daily basis. Sadly, it seems to me that many dog walkers think they are so good at it that they don't need to abide by sensible rules. Responsible dog walkers who care about others seem to be in the minority. Which is why we need dogs to be kept on leads at all times.[/p][/quote]How on earth do you find the time to walk a dog whilst making your own breakfast muesli? As for picking up after dogs in open countryside, you are being absurd. There is simply no need to when nature will deal with their droppings just as effectively as it deals with sheep, cattle, fox, badger etc. Note, I mean 'open countryside' not paths, or pavements. Indeed forced picking up where unnecessary will only lead to the grotesque and much worse habit of loaded plastic bags being left on the ground or hanging from fences or bushes. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

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