Calls for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead

An appeal has made to dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s come from Fiona Knapp, who lives on the Hardwick estate, in Bury St Edmunds, who has asked owners to be “considerate, be sensible, be safe, protect our neighbourhood and the NHS.”

She made her appeal on the social media site Nextdoor which prompted a flurry of comments from other dog owners who supported her.

She said: “If you’re out walking your dog, please please keep them on a lead. In these challenging times it just adds to the stress when approached by an owner trying to retrieve their dog. Dogs are naturally sociable and will usually approach others when off the lead.”

Corrina Hanley, who also lives on the estate, added: “Just as a tip, if you turn your back to a dog and walk away they should stop.

“Don’t make eye contact and turn your back as soon as they approach. They will get the message attention is not wanted. Some of us need to let our dogs run and burn energy especially as we are only allowed out once.”

Kevin Peck, from Horringer Court, added: “Please have respect for walkers that do not wish to be approached by dogs that sometimes bite.

“I was out walking when a youth approached with a dog off a lead. I moved and was easily two metres from them both but the dog just came over but the owner did nothing to restrain the dog.

“I raise my hand and shouted at the dog only to be told by a youth if you hit my dog I will punch you. I told him firmly to put the beast on a lead or words to that effect.

“If walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should walk your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep two metres away from others”

He added that it may be possible for the Covid-19 virus to be carried on pet fur.

“And for this reason it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly after touching, feeding or cleaning up after your pet. It’s also important to ensure your pets are kept separate from other people, pets and households and avoid touching other people’s pets where possible.”

He also quoted the government’s ruling which says: “If walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should walk your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep two metres away from others.”

While Richard DeBrick, from Hawstead, said: “It is not just the risk of an owner approaching, dogs are ‘surfaces’ that can carry a virus.  Owner handles dog, dog brushes against you, jumps etc.”

And Louise Radcliffe, from Bury St Edmunds, added: “There are a few people out there who possibly just ‘don’t get it’ for whatever reason. And they make it bad for the rest of us.”

But Elizabeth Mallabone, from the Hardwick estate, said she lets her dog off her lead.

“She doesn’t care about other dogs or people around her. She is more interested in her ball. When she is on her lead she notices other people. But off it she couldn’t care less about other humans let alone running up to them.  So sorry but not all dogs run up to people.”

And Corrina Hanley, also from the Hardwick estate, added: “My dog is not interested in other people or dogs – only his ball. So I feel comfortable letting him off lead in the parks.

“The reality is we are not going to keep them on leads for the next year and most people are responsible dog owners. If you don’t want a dog approaching you just ignore it – I do it all the time and it works.

“There are also local parks which are on lead parks if you are really concerned. We have to try and not tar everyone with the same brush. Most people are trying their best.”

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