The Kennel Club is supporting calls to review and reform the “unfair” system of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), due to their “ongoing adverse impact for dogs and owners“.

The organisation is backing a petition seeking a government review and reform of the process, highlighting the “often inadequate public consultations held by local authorities, the limited opportunity that local residents have to challenge any Orders and the corresponding negative impact of PSPOs on dogs and their owners”.

“PSPOs are legislative tools used and enforced by local authorities across England and Wales that are designed to deal with a problem in a specific area which is ‘detrimental to the local community’s quality of life’,” A Kennel Club statement reads.

“Due to lack of consultation and consideration of both impact and intended outcome, PSPOs can be highly restrictive in nature and prevent dog walkers from accessing public spaces, such as local beaches or playing fields, during certain times of day or year, amongst other restrictions.”

The current process to legally appeal a PSPO, the Kennel Club says, is both “extortionate and burdensome” for private citizens, making it near impossible to fight too restrictive or unfair PSPOs.

Holly Conway, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, says, “We believe that dog owners and other local community members are being denied the right to fairly appeal and challenge PSPOs. The Kennel Club is one of the only organisations explicitly named by the government for local authorities to consult with prior to the consultation and implementation; however, many do not always clearly advertise their public consultation, with some getting few or no responses at all.

“Without public engagement during the consultation period, measures implemented can be disproportionate, unsubstantiated, and highly restrictive for dog owners and other members of the local community.”

Mindful walking

She adds, “As the organisation behind one of the country’s largest PSPO databases, we are highly supportive of this petition and join campaigners in strongly urging a governmental review into the system. By extending the public’s ability to appeal an Order to three months without the need for a legal challenge, further rights will be granted to dog walkers and other local residents to push back against often unfair restrictions.

“We hope to see dog control measures which are minimally restrictive and designed to achieve a defined and measurable outcome – as was the government’s intention when they were introduced.

“We urge all dog owners to sign the petition and make sure that their voices are heard to prevent the continued unfair implementation and inadequate consideration of the impact of PSPOs.”

The petition calling for a review of the system currently has 1,000 signatures.

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