Showdown set for dog walking drama

Coun Claire Hamilton is behind Thursday's protest.
Coun Claire Hamilton is behind Thursday's protest.

Protestors are taking to the streets after a council imposed a controversial ban on dog walkers who exercise more than four pets at a time.

Objectors to South Ribble Council’s move, including councillors and dog walkers, are set to descend on the authority’s main offices on West Paddock, Leyland, on Thursday at midday.

Dog walker Annabel Cookson fears she could lose up to 1,000 a month.

Dog walker Annabel Cookson fears she could lose up to 1,000 a month.

Protest organiser Coun Claire Hamilton said: “It will be a visual demonstration after receiving so many signatures on the petition.”

It comes after cabinet members voted to drop the limit on the number of dogs that can be walked at a time from to four and upped the fine for anyone caught to £100.

Coun Hamilton added: “We hope the council take notice of these dog walkers and I am actively calling on the leader Peter Mullineaux to come down and speak to those affected.”

In the aftermath of the decision last week, a petition was launched rejecting the limit and currently has more than 1,700 signatures.

The news comes as the borough’s scrutiny committee called cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Streetscene, Coun Graham Walton, to appear in front of it next Monday.

Committee chairman, Coun Matthew Tomlinson, said: “I have called this meeting because I wasn’t happy the council stuck to its own rules on decision making. My job is to make sure the council is being run properly and taking decisions in the correct manner.”

Coun Walton said: “We’re not trying to stop the pleasure of people walking their dogs. It was decided for the health and safety of the borough that a limit was best.”

A counter-petition has also been set up by Leyland Warriors rugby club, who support the new rules.

Coun Tomlinson said: “It is interesting and shows there are conflicting views.”

Annabel Cookson, however, who runs a dog walking business, says the move could cost her £1,000 a month.