Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, dog owners are required to provide for their dogs, five basic welfare needs, known as the "Five Freedoms." One of these freedoms is the need for appropriate exercise. The Act states that animals must be provided with a suitable environment and adequate space to exercise and express normal behaviour patterns.
A responsible dog owner has a duty to ensure that their dog receives regular exercise suitable for their breed, age, and health condition. Dogs need daily physical activity to maintain good health, prevent obesity, and promote mental well-being. The amount and type of exercise required can vary depending on factors such as the dog's size, breed, and energy levels.
This means that dogs and people will often be sharing the same public space. If you are walking your dog, remember that some people may be fearful of, or allergic to, dogs. Give others plenty of space and control your dog when passing strangers to ensure the safety, comfort, and consideration of others.
For those who do not own a dog, remember that dog walkers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their dogs, so it's essential to be considerate and avoid any actions that could potentially cause stress or harm to the dogs or the dog walker. If you approach with respect and sensitivity, many dog owners will be happy to share some information about their beloved pets.
Whittlesey Neighbourhood Watch and The Friends of the Manor have produced a guidance leaflet to help everyone understand how to make using public places a positive and enjoyable experience for both dogs and people.