Thursday, 8 March 2012

Closet activist

I've been distracted from sticking leaves into my leaf sketchbook by some worrying news this morning.

A neighbour, and fellow dog-walker, told us that our town council are considering creating a new bye-law for all dogs to be on leads at all times on ALL the town council's land.  This would include our big playing fields, and possibly also the adjoining patch of ancient woodland where the Whippet loves to terrorise squirrels*.  It would also, presumably, include the two big nature reserves and flood meadows.  Basically, everywhere within walking distance.

no Schnauzers or Fox Terriers?  Oh no!

It's all because there are a few people who never clean up after their dogs, but because they never do, we ALL get blamed.

So instead of tootling on foot up to the top of the hill to the playing fields and woods, we would have to get in the car and drive for at least three miles.  Every day.  We live in a very busy part of the country, and while there is still a network of footpaths, in the last three years we've investigated all the ones near to town and so many footpaths either have fenced stiles (ever tried to carry a whippet over a stile?), cross main roads or golf courses, or cross land with livestock.

We are very lucky to have the South Downs (like the logo? A work colleague of Mr G's designed it!) and Winnie the Pooh country close by, but they are not near enough to be considered "everyday" walking.  And as we only have the one car (and trying our hardest to avoid buying another one, and use the one we have as little as possible) there will be some days when the Boy will just have to make do with a walk on his lead, and we will have one crazy whippet eating the carpets.

We are all so upset about this proposed change, which won't actually do anything to stop the fouling - the people who don't pick up now will still look the other way whether their dog is on a string or not.  It is so unfair, so blunt and will have a massive impact on our daily life, so we are going to start a petition.  Lots of petitions.  We are going to get in touch with all the town vets, the professional dog walkers, the animal charities, anyone and everyone.  The public consultation will open some time next week, so we need to be ready!

If anyone out there has any experience of anything similar happening near them, we would be very interested in finding out more, so please get in touch - even if just to lend some moral support, and some long-distance fire-power to our campaign!

*I've had a look at the "Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 and I think woodlands are exempt. 

PS On a completely different note, is anyone going to Stitch & Craft next week?  I'm undecided.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! I'd sign the petition if I qualified ;(

    We're very lucky to have our own flush system, called The Tide (shhhhh!)


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