New Dog Walking Legislation - Have Your Say


New legislation could mean that over 8.5 million people are at risk of having their dog walks restricted or breaking the law just by walking their dog. This October more green spaces and beaches in England and Wales could introduce rules either banning dogs altogether or restricting access at certain times of day and year.

New Dog Walking Legislation - have your say

Research from Dogs Trust reveals that nearly 90% of people are unaware that they can influence these laws and make them more dog friendly.

Currently some green spaces do have Dog Control Orders (DCOs) which outline times that dogs are not allowed to use certain areas. But come October 2017 these will become known as Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), and now there is confusion about what this could mean for dogs and their owners.

Dogs Trust is urging people to check with their Local Authorities to see if there are any existing or planned PSPOs in their area and flag any concerns they may have, before it's too late.

Many dog owners know the restrictions that PSPOs can introduce, such as limiting when and where they can walk their dog, but many people are unaware that they have the power to influence change.

Lee Paris, Dogs Trust Campaigns Officer, says:

"Dogs Trust is worried that the majority of dog owners could unknowingly be risking fines and potentially huge restrictions on where they can and can't walk their dogs. What's more these changes could be based on just one or two comments from local residents. Unlike Dog Control Orders a Public Space Protection Order can be introduced based on the concerns of a small number of people, but that could have detrimental impact on dogs and their owners’".

With less than 7% of people knowing that there are existing PSPOs in their area, it leaves a worrying number who just don’t know what could be due to impact them and their dog. Lee continues:

"Whilst we understand the need to ensure green spaces are enjoyable for all involved, we don't want this to be at the detriment of dogs and their right to enjoy their daily walks. A dog is for life and we don’t want owners to be restricted when and how they enjoy the time with their four legged friend. Instead we hope that our PSPO toolkit, containing leaflets, flyers and a draft letter to send to your Local Authority, will ensure any future orders take a dog friendly approach."

PSPOs broken down

  • PSPOs are being introduced in October 2017, they will replace DCOs
  • A PSPO can restrict dog walking in public spaces, such as having to keep your dog on the lead or only exercising your dog at certain times of the day or year
  • Breaching a PSPO can result in a fine
  • A PSPO can be brought about by a small group of residents complaining or raising concerns about an issue with their Local Authority

Have your say

Here you can find your Public Space Protection Order toolkit for England and Wales, and a Dog Control Order version for Northern Ireland.

Public Space Protection Order toolkit

Included is a template response letter for you to send to your local authority in response to a PSPO/DCO consultation to encourage the local authority to adopt a dog friendly approach when implementing an order.

The kit also includes awareness raising posters and flyers for you to hand out to dog friendly businesses and vet surgeries, plus an image that you can use on your social media profiles to help spread the word online.

Laura Chafer
01 September 2017  |  13:27

Non needed im appauled

01 September 2017  |  15:57

We need our dogs to get a run.

Roslyn Davison
01 September 2017  |  16:07

Dogs need exercise.

Karen Kendall
01 September 2017  |  18:00

We have a massive house building programme happening in my town but to my knowledge there are no plans for dog walking or training facilities to be included. There is more pressure on smaller areas of land to cope with higher densities of dog walkers. Something has got to give eventually and I am not surprised to learn about these new orders; but where does this leave the dog owning members of the public?

Stephen Belton
01 September 2017  |  19:31

As a dog owner I am well aware that there are resonsable owners aswell irresponsible owners. However I am appalled that residents can apply and achieve dog no go areas with such ease where as cat owners can let thir cats roam 24/7 without any concerns over the continued threat to wild life or for fouling in non cat owners gardens. On top of this there are public foot paths which are used by cyclists who have no concept of the law and no one to enforce it.

Paula R
01 September 2017  |  22:00

Am angry that as a responsible for owner, my dogs are resticted from exercise in our local area. Now..... I understand and fully agree about dogs being excluded from children's play parks. I pick up any mess that my dogs create. I respect other people in our local country park. Yet my dogs are being penalised whilst car owners have no restrictions and even some parents allow their kids to drop litter, pull branches off trees and even run wild without consideration to others. Perhaps dog owners should fight for places to be for dogs only and no kids allowed. Afterall broken glass etc are far more harmful to the environment.

Ruth Graham
03 September 2017  |  9:38

My dogs clear up a lot of mess others create too! Their favourite pastime is bringing me the discarded plastic drinks bottles the kids throw everywhere

K Foster
02 September 2017  |  15:25

same old story .. easier to punish all dogs & their families than deal with one or 2 individual complaints .. councils do it with everything .. consultations are usually very poorly ( if at all ) advertised .. no such thing as freedom or democracy any more

Valerie Skilling
02 September 2017  |  20:57

we need more fenced off fields for dogs to run without fear of roads. parks are out of bounds usually so special dog walking fields would be great,

07 January 2018  |  19:59

I'm 75yrs and not keen on long walks, especially field walking so, it's great for me and my 2yr old Cockapoo to let him off the lead and chase after a ball, what better way to exercise him. He is still learning, loves meeting dogs and running the field with them.

Patrick Lowe
02 September 2017  |  21:49

This is getting ridiculous now. I can understand the no walking dogs in childrens play areas & clamping down on people who don't clean up after their pets,but to bring about these new laws whereby we can only walk our dogs at certain time of the day/year ? I know there is & always has been irresponsible dog owners who blatantly disrespect others,but it's hardly fair to put laws in force which affect the rest of us law abiding citizens. Before we know it we will be living in a dictatorship country people aren't allowed to own pets.

Emily Rimicans
03 September 2017  |  8:27

Shocking. Dogs need exercise

03 September 2017  |  10:07

Dogs need walking and exercise everyday u can't restrict time also they nerd a run it's the the people who let their dog foul everything they already get fined it will b like Romania if u just let dogs go loose

Sue Julian
03 September 2017  |  10:11

I do hope that common sence will prevail! As a dog owner I know that there are irresponsible owners as well as responsible and to restrict every one to punish a few who will disregard any new rules any way does not make sence. By all means have a few places that are dog free, ie children's okay areas and some parts of pick nick areas I get it that some people don't like dogs. There are however more and more people getting dogs and they need training, manners and free running. Please let's not get sill but live and let live?

Carol Johnson
03 September 2017  |  12:41

It would be a sad day if this legislation goes through. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and the vast majority of dogs are not looking to cause trouble. Such an extreme measure that wouldn't affect the irresponsible idiots who haven't the least understanding of what having a dog is about or don't care as long as it makes them look tough.the world is hard and scary without taking away a bit of joy from dog owners life

Paul Bovis
03 September 2017  |  13:01

Authorities need to forget about our Dogs and concentrate on Feral Yobs roaming around !

Debbie Allen
03 September 2017  |  13:38

I am a responsible dog owner. I agree that there are maybe places that should be dog free. A child's playground for example.
However, it is ridiculous to punish the majority of people whom are responsible dog owners. They are as much a part of our family as our children. To takeaway exercise spaces will place more pressure on behavioural issues. Dogs whom need exercise will be compromised and this is not good for their mental and emotional well being. Which is just a senseless and stupid idea. They are not laptops, desk tops or mobile phones.....

Steven Colburn
03 September 2017  |  15:41

This article is factually incorrect. Dog Control Orders (DCO's) were repelled and replaced in October 2014. Replaced by Public Spaces Protection Orders, part of the Crime and Antil Social Behaviour Act October 2014.

I took our local council, Dover District Council, to task over their new proposed areas restricting access for our dogs.

We managed to overturn most of the proposed areas and even gain access to places where dogs did not have a right to room, such as our local pier.

Its old news, Im afraid. But PSPO's can be implemented at any time. Not just in relation to dogs either. Drinking in town centres. Restricting youths from gathering ect.

PSPO's once implemented in any area need to be reviewed every 3 years otherwise they are null and void and the area reverts back to old bye laws.

Its worth keeping an eye open each month on your local councils website for the minutes of the cabinet meetings, to check wether they intend to implement any PSPO's. Unlike the old DCO's they do not have to enter any public consultation period, so get together, keep informed and kick up a fuss. x

Noreen Furlong
03 September 2017  |  16:45

i am a responcible dog owner,and probably because some dog owners do not pick up x go places they should not,we all get penalised, i thought we are a nation of animal lovers, hu

Joanne Bannister
03 September 2017  |  19:35

As a responsible dog owner I do feel it would be unfair not to let my little dog have a play with his friends. We only let him off his lead when we know it is safe to do so.

Veronica Clarke
03 September 2017  |  20:13

You'd better get on top of this now. Many beaches etc in the USA have these regulations already. Often the beaches are off limits at times posted because of high tide so walking on the beach becomes an impossibility. I agree that all dogs should be on a leash in public areas so there are no problems., also agree that all excrement should be picked up, but the time limitations often mean having to stay on roads etc . Good luck

Kay Gibson
03 September 2017  |  20:49

I think it would be cruel not to let dogs off lead sometimes it also depends on temprement of the dog owners know their own dogs maybe enforced dog training when they are puppies would be the way forward

Rhoda Larsen
03 September 2017  |  22:52

Why should all dogs be punished for irresponsible dog owners that let aggressive dogs run loose. Our dogs love being off the lead and playing together.

Anna Keely
03 September 2017  |  23:59

This is another stupid law , cruel too dogs need free exercise ..surely some of the people that make these ru;les have dogs of their own ?

Sue Ramsden
05 September 2017  |  12:07

I have never heard anything so ridiculous. Dogs need exercise and if they are properly looked after whilst on that walk there isn't a problem. It is the owners or unruly or out of control that need penalising. As for the time of day and year ? how do you go on if your working part time and cannot be out at that time to walk your dog. You are then classed as irresponsible owner as you don't walk your dog. Please think when you are making these laws up and consider carefully what you are implying to these laws.

Heather Hayes
05 September 2017  |  19:30

If dogs are walked on their leads, so under control by their owners, I can't see a problem. It is the people who allow their dogs off lead to attack others dogs, even children, that are the problem. Are the councils going to provide us all with an enclosed area to exercise our dogs then, and how would we get them

Denise Lea
11 September 2017  |  8:32

Dog owners are a BIG part of our community and should be considered as such. We are constantly told to get more exercise and dog-walking is perfect way to do exactly that so why is dog ownership not encouraged instread of penalised all the time. Wonder if there is anyone representing 'us' ?

Margaret Risker
15 September 2017  |  10:02

The local park where I walk my dog already has a dog free area that is active all year. That's fine but it's very rare that anybody without a dog uses it.

This was actioned all because of one nasty person plus a new councilor in the area who thought it was a good idea. So it proves that these laws can be set if one person complains hard enough.

Peta Clarke
24 September 2017  |  20:17

Dogs and handlers need the freedom to walk freely and enjoy the scenery. It's one of life's greatest pleasures

Linda Spate
29 September 2017  |  15:59

Dogs need places to walk and be walked. As do the owners. There is nothing nicer than going for a long walk with your dog. Take this away and t=you are taking peoples freedom as well as their enjoyment.. Its about time councils got off tgheir backsides and got dog wardens to do their job properly. Prosecute the offenders. if its done on a regular basis people would think twice before not picking up after their dog has fouled. Its always the majority that have to suffer because of the selfish disrespectful and stupid minority

Helen Gregory
20 October 2017  |  16:07

If this happens then Itís about time councils started providing Dog parks! If they can do it in America why canít we have them here???

Lynda Libby
30 March 2018  |  16:31

I'm trying g to find out what the law is. If my dog is wearing a harness which says caution and then bites in public. Wouldn't I be in more trouble for admitting I have a dog that is likely to bite by expressing it on a harness?

A Burtenshaw
02 April 2018  |  17:53

Unfortunately in this day and age I do beieve there should be some restrictions ie; public parks. Professional dog walkers are taking over our local park and it is no longer a pleasure to sit in said park. Constant barking and calling has ruined the enjoyment.

Mary Pope
08 August 2018  |  20:26

Why do dog owners constantly let their dogs bark and run free then shout to the top of their voices to call them back this is befor seven in the morning in a small green at the back of my bungalow, why do dog owners seem to think that their dogs become suddenly deaf when they are out in the green.
Constant barking and shouting is driving me nuts what about people that live around these areas that were never there for dog walkers and their rights .

30 October 2018  |  17:02

I read the Template Response document, on the Dogs on Lead order- A strange plead to state;
" I would like the Council to consider my duty of care requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (section 9) which requires my dog to exhibit normal behaviour patterns Ė this includes the need for my dog to exercise and run off lead"
If this were true, then the PSPO would not be able to cover this. A dog does not have the right to be let off a lead. Walking a dog down the public streets on a lead, would be a suitable argument that the dog is being exercised. Or within a closed off garden. If you haven got a garden, then you need to reconsider owning a dog,m if you a concerned with dog /animal welfare.

It does not equally mention the rights of "non-dog walkers", just your average person going for a stroll. If they could group together to request an order to ensure dogs are on leads at all times. Walkers have rights too. It would be easier if local authorities enforced this Lead ban UK wide. Then have dog walkers make to make their argument to lift the "lead ban" and let then come up with a solution to ensure public safety. Why should councils have to pay to close off open park areas just for the sake of dogs. It would cost them money.

01 December 2018  |  22:24

I will be writing to my MP for what it is worth.

These dog orders are useless.. The term "Dogs on lead order", only applies if a PCSO spots a dog misbehaving, which is very unlikely, given the councils are broke, and only employ staff Mn to Friday 9 to 5.
More importantly, a dog owner, DOES NOT have to put a dog on a lead in public. Unless instructed by a so called PCSO or police officer. So you are free to walk along side your dog knowing it can and may run off to were ever it wants. ie your dog IS FREE to run were ever it likes, in public. fact.