Why must dogs be kept on leads in parks COVID-19

Some people have questioned why there are new rules in place in parks and open spaces requiring owners to keep their dogs on leads.

This is to ensure that all park visitors comply with the Government’s advice on social distancing – requiring people to remain two metres apart from each other.

These rules have been introduced across the country to try and prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Most dogs are well trained and will return to their owners when called.

However there are significant numbers that do not always comply with their owner’s commands and will often interact with other dogs and other park visitors. In these cases the owners often have to approach other people in order to retrieve their dog.

It is these unnecessary encounters that these rules are designed to prevent.

Environment spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “We are of course aware that some dog owners will not agree with these rules and will express frustration. As a dog lover myself I can understand and have some sympathy with that view, but we are in the midst of a life or death health crisis and we need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Unfortunately some dogs won’t automatically obey their owners and could create situations where their owners and other park visitors have to come into closer proximity than is safe at the moment.

“This is a temporary tightening of rules that will be relaxed as soon as the medical situation improves and the threat of Coronavirus has diminished.

“Until that happens we’d like to thank our residents and park visitors for their understanding and their patience in this emergency period.”

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