The libertarians, who want to retain the freedom to walk their well-behaved dog how they like, have been set against those who agree with curbs proposed on dogs walking where they like in the public space, and, indeed, would often take tougher measures against them.
But whatever side you are on, what’s noticeable about this debate on online forums is the level of intolerance being displayed.
The vast majority of people don’t like it when some dog owners don’t pick up dog mess. They may even ask questions of the owner at the time. But generally walks on the Common, beach or public land are not 'dogged' by disputes.
As a general rule, surely dog owners, and those who don’t like dogs, don’t behave in public spaces the way they seem to behave on online forums. The number of people who have apparently been ‘attacked’ in some form by dogs off a lead is surprising, to say the least. And concerns about the activities of ‘professional’ dog walkers, out with many dogs, have emerged as a significant issue.
As we’ve already said in this column, the actions of the few have caused this upheaval, resulting in inconvenience to the many. If everyone would demonstrate a little more respect and tolerance, this whole unhappy issue might never have come to a head.