Dogs should be allowed to run free says campaigner
OWNER Roger Utley has taken the lead with a new campaign to keep dogs running free.
The 61-year-old has whipped up a protest over one part of the Stroud District Council's proposed new dog control orders.
He regularly exercises his black Labrador Inka off the lead around the quiet back lanes of Bisley.
He said that if the "onerous" and "wide-ranging" restrictions in the draft orders were passed he and Inka's outings would have to be on the lead in future.
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Mr Utley, who sits on Bisley-with-Lypiatt Parish Council, was so alarmed that he spread word among other parish councils.
Now the district's environmental protection manager Rob Weaver has received around 50 responses to the dog control order proposals.
Retired plumber Mr Utley said responsible dog owners would have no difficulty with the order's other requirements to scoop poop and keep dogs out of children's play areas.
But he has a problem with a proposal to make it an offence to have a dog off a lead on any public road, pavement or grass verge which is within 4m of the carriageway, maintained at public expense and subject to a speed limit of 40mph or less.
"It has produced a strong reaction among our dog owners, many of who have emailed the district council to protest," said Mr Utley.
"This may look like a storm in a teacup but, at its heart, it's another example of lazy law making. Faced with a small number of people indulging in anti-social behaviour, the solution is to impose a wide-ranging restriction on the freedom of the law abiding majority."
Mr Utley said dog owners had long exercised their pets off the lead without a problem in most village back roads.
Once the order came into force, he said, they would become places where owners could be punished with on-th-spot fines.
Mr Weaver said Stroud District Council had received 50 responses to the second dog order consultation. A previous consultation was run last year.
People, parish councils and councillors had all now responded.
Mr Weaver said: "We want to ensure the orders, which are still in draft form, are effective and practical in the real world and will be carefully considering the responses to help us assess whether they need reviewing or revising. "If this is the case, we will publicise the revised notice for another six weeks."