DOG walking is perhaps the most popular leisure activity engaged in by local residents. Whether considered ‘leisure’ or a necessary chore, the exercising of dogs is a common sight in the streets, fields and back lanes and footpaths around Hedon.
However, there are very few places where dogs can be let off the lead and run freely and safely without straying onto public areas or private land.
Whilst public spaces with Protection Orders (previously called Dog Control Orders) should be clearly marked with ‘No Dogs’ or ‘Dogs on Leads’ signs, dog walkers are quite often confused about where else they are allowed to let their dogs run free off the lead.
It’s against the law (GOV.UK) to let a dog be “dangerously out of control” anywhere. A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them. A dog attacking another dog or animal can also be considered out of control. And of course farmers can kill animals (including dogs) that attack their livestock.
Most dog walkers act responsibly when letting their dogs off lead and will know their animal’s temperament and when it needs to be called to heel and put back on lead. But we do hear of local people worried about seeing dogs running loose and occasional complaints from other dog walkers whose animal has been attacked by another dog.
An idea raised by Christine Horner, suggests that an area could be designated as an off-lead area where dog owners could safely exercise their animals.
Christine asks: “Has any land owner got a fenced-off field that they do not use? Why not try turning it into a dog walking area where people would pay to let their dog’s run free off the lead?
“I am sure it would be a hit, as they are opening up all over the place. I for one would gladly pay to see my dogs running off lead once/twice a week.”
So what do other dog walkers think about the idea? Would you use such an area? And like Christine, would you be willing to pay to use it? And are there any local landowners out there willing to consider this suggestion?