Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friends but are being increasingly treated as enemies. There seem to be more and more parks and beaches from which dogs are banned. Owners are urged to exercise their dogs every day and to give them the best possible life. How are they supposed to do that when so many of the places to walk them are out of bounds?
No-go zones for dogs
It’s always wonderful to see dogs charging across the beach or running through the forest. Those waggy tails are a joy to behold as they chase through the surf, pursue their ball or gallop after a seagull. How frustrating to arrive at the beach or an appealing country park, only to see one of those awful signs featuring a dog with a red line across it.
To make matters worse, the fines for infringing the rules imposed by local authorities can be punitive. It’s enough to make you feel like a criminal. Dogs owners across the country are beginning to feel persecuted. Why is it so imperative to keep dogs out?
Ruining the enjoyment of the countryside
Apparently, our furry friends prevent people from enjoying the beauty of their surroundings and dog mess is a health hazard! Such attitudes rather smack of paranoia, given that people often drop litter in open spaces and that animal waste is an inevitable consequence of wildlife. What are we going to do, ban deer, horses and birds from our coast and countryside in case they drop one in an unfortunate place?
Dogs generally have owners and they are usually responsible enough to pick up their pet’s mess. The same can’t be said of seagulls and pigeons or the livestock which roams many areas. People don’t refuse to walk in Snowdonia because of the sheep droppings on the trails or to visit the beaches of Cornwall because there’s too much seagull poop about.
Fear of attacks
Evidently, there is also a pervasive fear that dogs will attack children, which of course very few would. The vast majority of attacks on children in the UK are perpetrated by people. Perhaps we should ban humans from beaches as well – just in case.
Bans should surely be proportionate to the threat posed by dogs and that is minimal in the vast majority of cases. Making it more difficult for dogs to expend their energy will only result in more behavioural issues.
The real problem is people
There are a minority of problem dogs, mainly as a consequence of their problem owners. There always will be. Surely the bad owners should be identified and punished rather than banning good owners and their lovely pets from the best places to walk. But that wouldn’t yield any fines to boost councils’ coffers and in our politically correct world, it is all too easy for a fanatical few to impose their silly ideas on the rest of us.
Dogs are rarely a problem, people often are. What’s worse? A dog running up to you on a beach to say hello or a family who picnics and then leaves their rubbish all over the sand? Why are teenagers allowed to roam around parks selling drugs from the benches when fear of an errant dog poo sees all pooches banned. It’s madness!
We don’t want to belittle the hazards posed by dangerous dogs or the unpleasantness of doggy do where it shouldn’t be. But why should perfectly decent dogs be banned from places where people are allowed to trash the countryside and negatively impact the environment with impunity?