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Not to divert the topic of treats any further, other than dog parks where can you legally exercise dogs off lead in the US?

 

Here in England as long as

there is no livestock nearby,

it isn't nesting time,

there is no protected wildlife or planting,

it isn't a public playing field, sports ground, school premises or cemetery,

it isn't a busy tourist beach in summer,

it isn't along a road,

pretty much any land open to the public can be used for dog exercising as long as consideration is shown to other users.

 

Basically the principle is that if there is no good reason not to do it you can.

 

This is common advice (from the Windsor Great Park leaflet) -

 

Does my dog need to be on a lead?

In many parts of the Great Park, dogs are welcome off

the lead, although they must always be under control.

Visitors must not, at any time, cycle whilst exercising

their dog in the Great Park.

Please be especially aware of the affect that your

dog may have on other Park users, both human and

canine. Some people can feel uncomfortable if even

the friendliest pet approaches them. Please help

people see the best in your dog by;

• looking out for horse riders, cyclists and joggers.

They can startle your dog - or your dog can startle

them - and cause an injury or accident.

• not letting your dog approach other people or

their dogs, unless you are sure they are happy

about this.

 

There are a number of Royal Parks in and about London and even in St James's Park 5 mins walk from the Houses of Parliament and surrounded by government buildings you will see dogs off lead. It's no big deal.

 

Nowhere in England is more than 30 mins from a Forestry Commission plantation where dogs are actively encouraged. Some even have mile long agility trails.

 

We have country parks, public footpaths, canal towpaths, Royal Parks, privately owned and common access land where people can roam freely, beaches etc etc. There can be more off lead opportunities in or around a large city than in the country because livestock isn't as numerous.

 

No dog parks though, thank goodness. (Or dog licences, or anyone telling us how many or what size dogs we may have, provided that no one complains.)

 

Even if you step over the line and let a dog off where you shouldn't, if it is behaving itself the worst that is likely to happen is that a ranger or dog warden may ask you to put it on lead. Not many of those around though.

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I'm in Toronto, ON. Leash laws are strict. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet while out in public, except in designated areas. (People use flexis and no one will receive a ticket, but the letter of the law is specific about leash length.) It's rare to see dogs off leash on the street, but I do see one or two from time to time. The city itself is very dog friendly (dogs allowed in stores, on public transit, etc) and there are a good number of city parks which have areas designated for off-leash dogs that are spacious and well maintained. Toys/food are allowed.

 

I don't often use a leash when I walk my Aussie locally. She's hardly ever leashed in parks. I walk her often in valleys and other woodsy areas nearby and I've never received a ticket. I was recently asked to leave a park which doubles as a nature preserve (my mistake for wandering into it) but suffered no repercussions aside from feeling guilty for putting someone else out. I don't often bother with designated off-leash areas since my dog isn't particularly dog social and I have such ready access to trails.

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Around here (US, IL) it's pretty much leash laws everywhere. The rule in my neighborhood is dogs must be leashed if off your property and no leash longer than 6 ft and it must be in your hand, not dragging on the ground. A lot of the playgrounds and parks don't allow dogs period, not even on a leash. And we have these stupid rules all over for how many dogs, how big, what breeds, etc. And aside from laws, homeowners insurance sometimes will dump people for certain breeds, or raise rates, as they think it's too much of a liability. It's sad. Sounds like England has a much better attitude about dogs, I wish the US was more like that.

 

Speaking of the general dog situation, what is the shelter situation like in England? I know it is much less common to spay/neuter over there (whereas some areas in the US have mandatory spay/neuter and i have to pay a ridiculous amount extra for rabies certificates on my intact dogs). I have always contended the real problem is stupid owners leading to all of the other evils (laws, limits, etc). They ruin it for the responsible people.

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Our county has a leash law. It requires dogs to be on a leash unless they are within an enclosed area. There are some exceptions; for example Phoenix allowed dogs off-leash in certain areas if they had certain types of certification. Also, service dogs can be off-leash while under going training (though I know one person with a service dog who was ticketed for having his dog off leash, even though he claimed it was for training purposes). Other nearby counties have differing laws and state parks may have exception to exceptions. Generally, if you want to be within the law, you need to do your research ahead of time. Sometimes it's not completely clear, even after reading the laws and regulations. When I have my dogs with me to the office and take them down for a potty break, I am withing an enclosed (but not gated) area. I'm probably violating some regulation, when I do so, but if no one can see, then I take my chances. Indeed, the nearby agility club holds their classes in an area that is mostly (but not completely) fenced off. Also the law is vague about what fencing is sufficient; a healthy border collie can clear a 6ft wall without a problem. My ex-foster Glyn jumped the fence of our local dog park enclosure many times -- though his recall was solid, so he jumped right back when I called him (to gasps of amazement from people).

 

[Oh yes, and as folks mention the 6ft leash requirement, that puts the flexi-leash folks (maybe 80% of dog walkers) on the wrong side of the law.]

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I think this depends largely on where you live, both as far as what the laws are and how they're enforced.

 

The town (township for those living outside of NY and New England) where I live bans dogs from all parks except the Rail Trail, where dogs are permitted on 6' or shorter leashes. It's pretty heavily traveled, and AFAIK (I choose not go go there often), pretty strictly enforced and definitely respected. I've never seen an off leash dog there, though many dogs are on flexi leads.

 

There are, however, some little used parks where people do take their dogs for off leash exercise. One is a completely undeveloped park, just an overgrown dirt road through some woods along a creek. Most dogs there I've encountered have been under pretty good control, but not all of them.

 

The other park isn't used very much. There's a road that leads to a fire fighting training area, but that's fenced off. Other than that there's a baseball batters' area fence, but that's all. The land is often water saturated, and there's a levee along the river. Quite a few people take their dogs there for off leash exercise. I've actually been there a couple times when the Dog Control Officer's driven through, and he's even stopped and said hello, but never asked us to leave. One time he said he was there because he'd had a report of an aggressive dog there, but it clearly wasn't a BC so he wasn't concerned by my friend and me, just warned us to be cautious.

 

There are some other state forest land I go to in the next county over, which is close, and in the next town over in another direction there's another levee area where people exercise their dogs off leash, even though I don't think it's legal.

 

There are 2 dog parks in the city adjacent to me, but I've never been to the one and stopped going to the other pretty quickly, mostly because it's too small, often too crowded and some people and their dogs were clueless.

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Around here (US, IL) it's pretty much leash laws everywhere. The rule in my neighborhood is dogs must be leashed if off your property and no leash longer than 6 ft and it must be in your hand, not dragging on the ground.

 

I've always found it interesting that most leash laws don't specify that the handler must be holding the other end of the leash. There have been many times I've draped the leash over my dog's back or through a collar. I've never been challenged on it but would love someone to try it someday. B)

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I've always found it interesting that most leash laws don't specify that the handler must be holding the other end of the leash. There have been many times I've draped the leash over my dog's back or through a collar. I've never been challenged on it but would love someone to try it someday. B)

 

UGH. My husband will do that in very public places. Just drop the leashes and let the dogs drag them and say "they are on leash". Seriously, that may be the letter of the law, but if someone were going to take issue, it seriously would not matter!!!

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Yes, everywhere I go in my part of Michigan, including the dog friendly beach, you are expected to keep your dog on a leash. And everywhere I go in the Chicago suburbs, including their great forest preserve system requires the dogs to be on leash. Other than the beach (and the past couple of years rangers have been patrolling and telling people to leash their dogs or be fined) almost everyone I see keeps their dogs on lead.

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The island I live on has one nasty dog park which is the only public land that you can be off leash, it's about 1/2 an acre, packed dirt, between an on ramp to the bridge and a commercial area, we have never used it. Dogs are banned from the beaches in the summer, which I think is actually reasonable, but if you are off leash at anytime the fine is double which in January seems absurd. There are no restrictions on private land.

In the state (RI) there are numerous wildlife management areas and during hunting season if your dog is wearing orange and someone has a license and shotgun the dog can be off leash, it would be hard to have a gun dog and keep him leashed! I have had dogs here for 18 years and being breaking the law nearly every day, in that time we have never been fined and only had a couple of talking toos.

The two local state parks are interesting, the DEM does not enforce a leash law, no one is even sure if there is a State one, some state parks do post leash requirements and they are outside the jurisdiction of the local police, the rangers generally let you be as long as you stay away from the tourists. Once I was asked to leash my dog because another had jumped on a kid and the ranger apologized for asking me to do it as my dogs where well behaved.

Every time I visit my mother in Kent, I am jealous of the dogs legally walking down the sea front in front of her house off leash, there is a polite note when you get closer to the town center, that just says dog must be leashed from this point. Last time I was there a gentleman let his border collie out the car and the two took of running, I have never been abe to run with my guy off leash.

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We have leash laws that specify length and that the owner be holding the leash. We have a rail trail that has been under construction for about 4 years, but you are supposed to be able to take leashed dogs on it if they ever open it. We have one park(leashed only and one dog park(4 acres fenced) within 30 miles of us. Other than inside the fence at the dog park, everywhere else in public is under our leash laws. However, I would swear that I'm the only one obeying the leash laws. It is extremely rare for us to take the dogs out for a walk and not come across at least one dog that was just turned out the front door to exercise itself. The main reason I'm so puzzled and pissed by this behavior is that I live in a rural area where everyone has plenty of their own property for their dogs to run on. I don't have any trouble keeping my own dogs home. And every one of those dogs are aggressive, either pits or other terriers. They often find their way onto my property, but are too stupid to find their way off again.

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However, I would swear that I'm the only one obeying the leash laws. It is extremely rare for us to take the dogs out for a walk and not come across at least one dog that was just turned out the front door to exercise itself. The main reason I'm so puzzled and pissed by this behavior is that I live in a rural area where everyone has plenty of their own property for their dogs to run on. I don't have any trouble keeping my own dogs home. And every one of those dogs are aggressive, either pits or other terriers. They often find their way onto my property, but are too stupid to find their way off again.

 

I would be plenty ticked about that too. When the rangers first started cracking down on unleashed dogs at the beach, I was initially upset. However, I soon noticed a big drop in the number of clueless owners and their wild, untrained dogs rampaging around while they either shout ineffectively or else pretend not to notice their dogs being boisterous jerks or worse, acting aggressively. It is really rather nice, though the problem isn't completely eliminated. Under the new world order, I now keep Quinn on a long flexi most of the time, with some breaks to run or swim.

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Our county actually doesn't have a general leash law (which surprised the heck out of me when I went looking as I was hoping to share it with my idiot neighbor who walks his well behaved dog along a busy road with no sidewalk, and shes aging and will lunge at other dogs and will someday meet her end when she steps in front of the cars that drive too fast through my neighborhood, but I digress).

 

There is a law that says dogs in public parks and trails need to be on leash, but not a general leash law.

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I would be plenty ticked about that too. When the rangers first started cracking down on unleashed dogs at the beach, I was initially upset. However, I soon noticed a big drop in the number of clueless owners and their wild, untrained dogs rampaging around while they either shout ineffectively or else pretend not to notice their dogs being boisterous jerks or worse, acting aggressively. It is really rather nice, though the problem isn't completely eliminated. Under the new world order, I now keep Quinn on a long flexi most of the time, with some breaks to run or swim.

Our only dog beack is about 50 miles away, is heavily patrolled, and requires a 6' leash. And is only 100 yards of beachfront with only one narrow path to and from and angry neighbors on either side. I went there once, the list of rules took longer to read than how long we stayed. The dogs did have a blast so I will probably go again sometime. It just opened not too long ago. It was supposed to be a one year experiment because everybody who lives around there didn't want the dog beach, but it was an overwhelming success by someones standard, so they decided to continue it. I think that means that poop was picked up and animal control didn't have to be called too many times.

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The place I go on Lake Michigan isn't a dog beach per se, but a dog friendly beach. It is my favorite place to go with Quinn, with a 2 1/2 mile stretch to walk and very nice beachcombing. There are a couple other small beaches nearby that allow dogs, but I like being able to walk and get away from people. And no angry neighbors to deal with! :)

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I live near Boston, MA. There are tons of places to take my dogs offlead right by where I live. They're allowed in most public parks offleash as long as it's not summer, same goes for beaches. There are also quite a few non-dog parks and hiking trails that allow off-lead dogs around me. I'm quite fortunate.

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Our county dog law

A person who owns or has custody or control of a dog shall prevent the dog from running at- large. A person who owns or has custody or control of a dog shall, at any time the dog is off that person’s property, restrain the dog with a lead or leash no greater than six (6) feet in length.

 

But around here there are lots of farms/homes with acreage so leash laws aren't something that we're really thinking about. Mine are off leash 95% of the time. Leash laws only going to come into play with dogs that wander/run off.

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I would say that Vancouver is very dog-friendly. Almost all school grounds welcome off-leash dogs before 8 am and after 5 pm (although they are not allowed at the actual playground with equipment and such). There are designated dog beaches where dogs can be off-leash at all times and others where dogs are permitted off-leash during certain hours. Dogs on-leash are permitted almost everywhere and there are urban forests with both on-leash and off-leash sections. In general, dogs are very well mannered/adjusted here and in my nearly 15 years as a dog owner have never seen a real nasty dog fight and maybe only a couple where one dog has suffered a minor injury.

 

Legally, dogs are required to be on a leash when not somewhere designated as off-leash. I am not so law abiding and I walk my dog off-leash through my neighbourhood. We are not alone, many dogs are well mannered enough to be trusted off-leash (yes I realise that they are not robots and anything can happen). Another thing that routinely happens is that when 2 dogs are approaching one another on-leash, the owners will drop their leashes to allow the dogs to say hi in a more natural manner. If I am approached by a dog on a leash, I will always call Orbit over and put him in a down/stay. People are always surprised that I do that and seem shocked that he is not friendly (as he is wagging his tail). I have to explain to them that I am doing it out of consideration for them as their dog may not like being approached. Generally, dogs here are very well socialised and those that are not can usually be heard half a block away snarling and lunging at the end of their leashes (and more often than not, they are very little dogs),

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I would say that Vancouver is very dog-friendly. Almost all school grounds welcome off-leash dogs before 8 am and after 5 pm (although they are not allowed at the actual playground with equipment and such). There are designated dog beaches where dogs can be off-leash at all times and others where dogs are permitted off-leash during certain hours. Dogs on-leash are permitted almost everywhere and there are urban forests with both on-leash and off-leash sections. In general, dogs are very well mannered/adjusted here and in my nearly 15 years as a dog owner have never seen a real nasty dog fight and maybe only a couple where one dog has suffered a minor injury.

 

 

As it should be and as it will be if dogs are allowed some freedom.

 

I used to have a romantic notion that such huge and beautiful countries as the US and Canada would be wonderful places to own a dog with the potential for so much freedom, but (in the case of the US in particular) there are clearly places that are so restrictive that I'm sure I would think twice about owning a dog at all there since one of my main pleasures is seeing them run free.

 

Even visiting those countries I haven't been aware that dog owners could be so restricted, but I've spent more time in Canada than the US and when there all the dog owning places we stayed had land of their own so I wouldn't have questioned whether it was the same there as here. I know Vancouver Island best. I've been to Toronto and Montreal but in February when there were no dogs in sight. I did see a couple ploughing through the snow in London (Ontario).

 

We all have to coexist with people who don't have or even like dogs and mutually considerate rules and legislation are fine. In the UK we have Dog Control Orders here too and each time a local Council intends to impose one there are people who get up in arms about it, but reading the proposal in detail will show that the measures are normally sensible for everyone in the community and still leave off lead opportunities for dog owners to enjoy. Any excessive and unreasonable restrictions will soon be ignored as there isn't the manpower to enforce them anyway. Observation of the regulations depends on public consent and to get such consent the regulations have to be reasonable.

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I live near Boston, MA. There are tons of places to take my dogs offlead right by where I live. They're allowed in most public parks offleash as long as it's not summer, same goes for beaches. There are also quite a few non-dog parks and hiking trails that allow off-lead dogs around me. I'm quite fortunate.

 

I'm glad to hear it, and from others who have the opportunity to give their dogs some freedom legally..

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Dear Doggers,

 

Highland County has no leash laws. I don't think there's a "No dogs running loose" law either. Most of my travels are in/through/to rural America and my presumption - so far successful - is that most police have something better to do. The one exception was Ontario where those of us with dogs on a state park beach were told to leash up by the park ranger which I did until she left. Canada's admirable good manners can stray into officiousness.

 

I have walked my dogs off leash in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Charlotte, San Fransisco, Washington DC, Atlanta, Seattle and other cities with leash laws. BUT - I believe civilians have a right to not be bothered by my dogs and we walk at daybreak or at times or in places when others are unlikely to encounter us. Dog travelers's tip: Churches on weekdays, schools on weekends. Get your gas at truckstops and park in back with the semis (many drivers travel with dogs).

 

I was walking (dogless as it happens) one dawn on Santa Monica beach which is very, very serious about no dogs and really, really does fine the doggy scofflaw. The beach grooming machines were smoothing the sand for another busy day and a lady was jogging with her offlead Labrador Retriever in the surf. Lovely.

 

 

I'm not making a point by walking dogs off lead when ordinances insist they should be onlead but I usually have multiple mannerly dogs needing exercise and/or to relieve themselves and leashes are a pain in the ass. Unless there are signs everywhere (as Santa Monica beach) OR other users of the space object (Tip: expect trouble if you bring your dogs onto the kids' soccer field I will continue to do so.

 

Most cops don't care unless you rub their noses in it or they get complaints. Yes I'm breaking the law. Yes. I'll pay the fine without grumbling. No my dogs will do nothing to obstruct others' use of public space.

 

As Mum24dog's notes, things are better for dogs in the UK. But they're getting worse. In 1988 it was a rare pub with a "No dogs" sign on the door. There were very few "No dog" malls or Tescos. Now, they're everywhere. Outside London one didn't need to seek "Dog Friendly" accomodations because most B&B's & hotels were.

 

Unfortunately the Brits are becoming more like us.

 

Donald McCaig

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Around here (US, IL) it's pretty much leash laws everywhere. The rule in my neighborhood is dogs must be leashed if off your property and no leash longer than 6 ft and it must be in your hand, not dragging on the ground. A lot of the playgrounds and parks don't allow dogs period, not even on a leash. And we have these stupid rules all over for how many dogs, how big, what breeds, etc. And aside from laws, homeowners insurance sometimes will dump people for certain breeds, or raise rates, as they think it's too much of a liability. It's sad. Sounds like England has a much better attitude about dogs, I wish the US was more like that.

 

I wouldn't like to portray the UK as total doggy heaven and can only speak for England as the laws may vary a bit in other constituent countries of the UK.

 

We do have the stupid Dangerous Dogs Act that banned the Japanese Tosa, Fila Brasiliero, Dogo Argentino (virtually none if any of those 3 ever in the country) and the Pit Bull. The latter has been the issue since it is a type rather than a breed and it has led to quite a few misidentifications of dogs on the grounds of appearance alone.

 

And there is more legislation in the pipeline covering dogs under control on private property, not just in public. I'm reserving judgement until I know the final details.

 

Countries like Switzerland and Sweden have extremely stringent regulations covering responsible dog ownership which wouldn't go down well here but it can't be denied that they work. They have more of a culture of state and community influence on behaviour than we have though.

 

Speaking of the general dog situation, what is the shelter situation like in England? I know it is much less common to spay/neuter over there (whereas some areas in the US have mandatory spay/neuter and i have to pay a ridiculous amount extra for rabies certificates on my intact dogs). I have always contended the real problem is stupid owners leading to all of the other evils (laws, limits, etc). They ruin it for the responsible people.

 

 

I don't know that neutering is less common here in the UK (but it is in Sweden, for example) but I tend to mix mostly with responsible owners, most of whom who have no interest in breeding, and neutering is more the norm than leaving their dogs intact. I can't speak for other sections of society.

 

Very early neutering is rare though, and there is no legal compulsion. (Exceptions are individual and not worth complicating the picture to go into.)

 

If you take out pet insurance you will be asked if your dog is neutered and your premium will reflect the actuarial risk based on breed, increased or lowered health risk and behavioural expectations, which is reasonable from a business pov.

 

The shelter system is struggling to cope, especially with rescues seeing reduced donations over the past few years. We have our share of stupid and irresponsible owners who are to blame for most of the dogs that find themselves in rescue. Since the PB was banned its niche has been taken over by the Staffie and they and their crosses comprise a large proportion of the dogs held by shelters/rescues. In no kill rescues they block kennel space because there are few people wanting to adopt them.

 

There are legitimate rescues bringing in from Ireland dogs of types that have a chance of finding a new home. An Irish rescue dog has a very poor prognosis. There are also dog dealers posing as rescues who do the same. And there are those who bring in dogs from Romania and lately Bulgaria, for example, but not in such numbers as those coming from Ireland. It remains to be seen if the rescue traffic from Ireland is reduced in future since the Irish and UK governments have decided to enforce the need for pet passports between the two countries as required by EU law. This involves rabies jabs, which is ridiculous since neither Ireland nor the UK has rabies and there is plenty of opportunity to cross the border freely between Northern and the Republic.

 

Good rescues here will neuter before rehoming if the dog is at least 6 months old or include an obligation in the adoption contract that the new owner must do so. The problem is that often a rescue won't have the resources to follow up whether it has been done and even if they do check there is little they can do in practice if the new owner refuses. And of course some rescues are better than others in the care they take with rehoming.

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As Mum24dog's notes, things are better for dogs in the UK. But they're getting worse. In 1988 it was a rare pub with a "No dogs" sign on the door. There were very few "No dog" malls or Tescos. Now, they're everywhere. Outside London one didn't need to seek "Dog Friendly" accomodations because most B&B's & hotels were.

 

Unfortunately the Brits are becoming more like us.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

It's a question of balance. We recognise that not everyone wants to share their space with dogs and their wishes should be respected to the extent that it is reasonable for them to have places to go where they don't have to. Live and let live.

 

Just wondering why you pick on 1988. The population of the UK in that year was nearly 57 million. It is now around 63 million and set to break 70 million in 2029. We all have to accept more restrictions on the way we live our lives.

 

It has come to the attention of people who don't like dogs that they are entitled to have their say and take their business elsewhere so shops, restaurants and similar have to set their rules on dogs with regard to their expected clientele. And I don't blame shopkeepers who want to keep dogs out and eliminate the risk that someone's darling pooch may pee on their merchandise. Our local Tesco has convenient hitching rails where you can often see dogs waiting for their owners to do their shop. They weren't intended for that purpose but they are perfect and it's a pretty safe area from dog thieves or idiots who will mess with an unattended dog.

 

On the other hand, we didn't used to see accommodation and activities specifically aimed at dog owners either but such business are springing up all over.

 

The people that I know who choose not to camp at agility shows have no problem finding accommodation with their multiple dogs all over the country.

 

I don't consider that I have a god given right to expect everyone to agree with or put up with my life choices. As long as there is adequate opportunity for us all to indulge ourselves without bothering those who may be of a different opinion that's fine by me.

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Not Donald but he may be mentioning 1988 as a benchmark for him because he spent quite a bit of time traveling over there looking for a bitch to purchase.

 

The issue is one of balance - there are people who do and don't want to do things with their dogs or where dogs are allowed. Not one size fits all. I expect that as population grows everywhere and as issues become more prevalent, all countries may well see more stringent laws pertaining to animals in general, including dogs.

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Just to add, although in some ways we see more restrictions, since 2005 3.4 million acres of open country have been opened up to the public in England and Wales.

 

(We work slowly in this country, the campaign started in 1932 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_trespass_of_Kinder_Scout

My grandfather took part and I spent part of my childhood where it happened.)

 

This the effect on some of our National Parks (CROW means the Countryside and Rights of Way Act)

 

National Park

Public open land before CRoW

Public open land after CRoW

Lake District

46%

59%

Yorkshire Dales

4%

64%

Exmoor

13%

26%

Peak District

35%

72%

Dartmoor

47%

50%

North York Moors

18%

34%

Northumberland

19%

85%

 

 

Dogs must be on lead when near livestock on such new public open land, and from March to the end of July when birds are nesting (both reasonable) but otherwise they can be off lead. Owners of grouse moors may apply for a complete ban on dogs but even if they do it still leaves a lot of extra land open for our enjoyment.

 

Rather goes against the trend.

 

(That didn't come out right, should have been in table form. The lower % is pre CROW).)

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