Owner anger at Tameside long dog leads ban

Image caption,
Dogs in many Tameside parks must now stay on short leads

Dog owners are facing £1,000 fines if they take their pets to some Greater Manchester parks on a long lead.

The ban on leads longer than 2m (6ft 5ins) applies to dozens of parks and open spaces in Tameside.

Council bosses have argued that owners are more likely to clean up after their pets if they are on a short lead.

The Kennel Club, an organisation dedicated to dog welfare, said the ban was "completely arbitrary and unnecessary".

Tameside is the first local authority in Greater Manchester to bring in the "Dogs on Lead" order, which came into force in March.

Last year, the authority issued 66 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, more than double the amount (29) in 2008.

And it believes the ban on retractable leads, many of which stretch up to 8m in length, will reduce the need to issue those fines.

But Caroline Kisko, of the Kennel Club, said more and more councils were introducing orders which penalised the majority of responsible owners.

"We are especially disappointed at Tameside Council's stance on restricting lead length," she said.

"Bringing in an order which states to 'keep the dog on a lead of not more than two metres in length' seems completely arbitrary and unnecessary.

"We believe that it will be ineffective and extremely difficult to enforce.

"Many dog owners use flexible retractable leads in order to allow their dogs some freedom while still maintaining control. So it seems particularly unfair to limit the length of lead in this way."

Safe environment

A council spokesman said officials were careful to make sure that everywhere covered by the order had an area nearby where dogs were permitted to be exercised off leads.

"Traditional dog leads are well under two metres long anyway, but we will obviously be using common sense in enforcing the orders and if a dog is under close control by its owner then clearly the council will not be taking action," they said.

"However, if a dog is not under close control and the lead is significantly longer than two metres then people can expect action to be taken.

"We would hope that all dog owners would comply with the orders which, after all, are all about promoting a clean and safe environment for all, rather than face a fine or court action."

Other authorities which specify maximum lead lengths include South Tyneside, Middlesbrough, Gloucester and Waltham Forest.

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