Leeds dog walkers hit back at council rules

Dog walkers have hit back at Leeds City Council's plans to limit the number of canines that can be walked at once.

Under new orders, a single person won't be able to walk more than four dogs at the same time from the start of next month.

* Click here to watch latest YEP news and sport video reports.

The measures are intended as a way to tackle owners who do not clear up after their pets to help protect the health of children and deal with nuisance dogs.

* Click here to sign up to free news and sport email alerts from your YEP.

But Claire Grogan, from Leeds-based Woof Walking, has claimed that the

new restrictions are "ridiculous".

She said: "I don't take any more than five dogs at one time and these measures will affect me massively in respect of all my walks.

"There are dog walkers that take out a hell of a lot of dogs.

"Limiting it to four dogs is ridiculous and I am not impressed whatsoever.

"They are penalising absolutely everyone."

Ms Grogan normally takes dogs for walks in secluded areas such as Adel Woods so that she is away from children's playgrounds and groups of people.

She added: "Most problems are with the dog owners because they don't train them and it is not acceptable.

"I can't speak for all dog walkers, but it is professional for a reason and I am professional in what I do.

"Being around children and groups of people is just somewhere we don't go."

Other measures under the council's orders include excluding dogs from children's play areas in some parks and giving council staff the power to direct owners to put their dog on a lead.

It will be a criminal offence to breach the new orders and a conviction could result in a fine of up to 1,000.

Coun Tom Murray, Leeds City Council's executive board member for environmental services, said: "We want to promote responsible dog ownership but there is a minority of owners who do not take those responsibilities seriously.

"Dog dirt, nuisance dogs and strays should not be allowed to blight our streets and these powers will help us tackle these problems.

"Most importantly, dogs are no longer allowed in our children's play areas – this protects youngsters from picking up potentially dangerous

infections from dog dirt.

"I believe these will be welcomed by law-abiding and responsible dog owners, and by the wider public who grow tired of the dog dirt polluting our streets."