Two-and-a-half weeks after announcing the ban, and the day after it was due to come into effect, the Commons Council issued a statement, published in full below, claiming it had seen a ‘positive public response’ to the voluntary initiative.
‘We are now seeing a groundswell of public opinion which is supportive of our introduction of a voluntary scheme, a measured approach to try and overcome an all-too-obvious problem,’ it said.
The Commons Council has attracted plenty of criticism on online platforms, as well as some support, for its move, and a ‘protest’ dog walk was organised on the common last weekend, where it appeared that criticism was mixed with confusion among the dog walkers.
The council said it was wanting to encourage a change in attitude from dog owners using the common, particularly if they are not in full control of their pet. It also raised the issue, widely voiced elsewhere on other forums, about how professional dog walkers can be capable of properly looking after multiple dogs off the lead at the same time.
States Vet David Chamberlain prepared a guidance note for professional dog walkers which was published in 2016. It states that professional dog walkers, who must be insured, must exercise no more than five dogs at any time, and must keep them in their sight to ensure that their activities are monitored at all times. If they allow dogs to mix with others they remain responsible for the safety and behaviour of the dogs.
The guidance also states that only dogs with a reliable recall should be allowed off a lead, and if using long lines or extendable leads, walkers should do so only for no more than two dogs at one time, even if they are walking five animals at that point.