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Allowing dogs off leads or other restraints is allowed in many of the UK’s parks and wooded areas, but remains illegal in a significant chunk of walking spaces. However, there are simple ways walkers can discern the no-go areas for canines without leads.
This will also include areas near roads and footpaths busy with other traffic.
Dogs should also often be on a lead around areas of water at certain times of the year.
Signs will typically be prominently placed to warn dog-walkers of restrictions in the area if any are in force.
Flowerbeds and beaches are among the places most likely to have stricter rules on whether a dog may run and walk to its heart’s content.
Local authorities may choose to put a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place for areas like this, blocking dogs from entering specific areas or instructing owners to put them on a lead.
Other rules enforceable by the authorities include those around picking up after your dog and how many dogs one person can be responsible for at one time.
Flouting PSPO rules can rack up a charge of £100.
If the rule-breaking goes beyond this fixed penalty charge, this could skyrocket.
Any dog owner taken to court for breaking a PSPO or Dog Control Order may have to shell out £1,000.
Dog owners should also keep in mind that their pets should be microchipped, and donning a collar when in public spaces.
No identity tag on a dog in public could incur an unlimited fine.
These points are particularly useful to bear in mind for those who become dog owners over the festive period.
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Animal charities also routinely warn of the possible pitfalls of getting a pet just in time for Christmas, as it can often be not the most thought-through of gifts.
Pets4Homes earlier this year urged prospective pet owners to consider the consequences of picking Christmas as the time to make the big change and welcome a dog or cat into their home.
They detail: “During the 70’s and 80’s, dog rescue centres and rehoming shelters would see a peak in the amount of dogs that were adopted into new homes during December- and then a correlating peak in the number of dogs handed back over into their care or abandoned to fend for themselves over the months of January to March.
“This represented the approximate time span it took for those Christmas dogs and puppies acquired on a whim to begin to lose their appeal to the adults of the household, when faced with their children’s waning interest in the pet and the day-to-day realities of having to provide for their care.”
However, they add, many dog rehoming facilities enforce a “complete blanket ban” on getting a dog from their care during the month of December.
They say: “This has gone some way towards stopping the acquisition of dogs for Christmas gifts on a whim by people who have not thought things through or done the necessary research.
“However, as it is by no means impossible to find a dog for sale at Christmas time, a number of dogs do still end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters in the early part of the New Year nevertheless.”
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