Why ruin what attracts so many visitors?

SIR - I am deeply concerned to hear of the Torridge District Council s proposal to restrict dogs to being on the lead on the Burrows and coastal path. Our area is very popular with dog walkers and brings in many tourists who enjoy the dog friendly area

SIR - I am deeply concerned to hear of the Torridge District Council's proposal to restrict dogs to being on the lead on the Burrows and coastal path. Our area is very popular with dog walkers and brings in many tourists who enjoy the "dog friendly" area and also many people retire to this area to enjoy a lifestyle which includes walking their dogs freely on the burrows and coastal paths. I have been a veterinary surgeon for 11 years and worked in North Devon for seven of those years. I find it hard to believe that Torridge is even considering this restriction. I regularly run on the Burrows and for most of the area the only people out there are dog walkers. Dogs running free cause very little nuisance or worry to people on the Burrows as there is simply so much space. I have never seen any sheep worrying on the Burrows; I am sure there is the odd incident but it isn't common. All over the UK dogs are allowed to roam freely in areas stocked by sheep with occasional restrictions for lambing time, and owners are expected (and have a legal requirement) to act responsibly at other times. Why has Torridge suddenly decided to ruin something that attracts so many people to the area and forms an essential part of many people's lifestyle? I also have animal welfare concerns for the dogs. Many of the dogs people own in North Devon are working or gundogs (eg spaniels, labradors etc). The current population of dogs is used to the freedom they currently enjoy. It is almost impossible to exercise these dogs sufficiently on the lead. If this policy is implemented these dogs will suffer, mainly in increase in obesity and behavioural problems from boredom. As regards dog fouling, there is no reason to think that owners who currently do not pick up after their dogs will suddenly feel inclined to do so when they have to keep their dogs leashed. In summary I think such a policy would be bad for the local economy and cause a huge amount of distress for dogs and their owners. I urge other dog owners to contact the council ASAP to register their concernsGareth Cross BVSc MRCVS,Witten Lodge Vets, Northam.


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