Where can you take your dog in public?

Dog sitting in shade near park bench

Dogs are man’s best friend. They’re our loyal companions and wherever we go, they follow – whether that’s for a run in the park, a walk along the beach, to the cafe for brunch, and now for many of us, to the office.

If you’re a proud owner used to bringing your pooch along to the pub, you might be disappointed to hear that popular watering hole, JD Wetherspoon, has chosen to enforce a strict ‘No Dogs Allowed’ policy, which came into effect in 2018.

A company statement cited by the Independent explains how a policy banning pooches from inside of the pubs and around beer garden tables has been in place for years, but only leniently enforced at each branch manager’s discretion.

“After much consideration, we will now be strictly enforcing this policy everywhere,” read the statement.

Ultimately, it’s up to the owner or manager of every cafe, pub, bar and restaurant to decide whether or not dogs are allowed in their establishment. Meaning, it’s always best to check in advance if you’re planning to take your dog to dinner with you!

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Let’s take a look at some of the other rules surrounding dogs in public spaces…

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Certain public areas in England and Wales are covered by what’s known as Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), formerly known as Dog Control Orders (ODOs). Local councils have a duty to let the public know where PSPOs are in place. Also, any new PSPOs must be put up with a notice detailing where the order applies, and if there’s an area map, where dog owners can view it.

As the Gov.UK website explains, if you’re in a PSPO-designated public space you may have to:

  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Put your dog on a lead if a police officer, police community support officer or a council representative asks you to
  • Stop your dog from wandering into certain places, such as areas within a park or farmland
  • Limit the number of dogs you have with you (this is also the case for professional dog walkers)
  • Clean up after your dog

Dog owners who ignore a PSPO could receive a £100 on-the-spot fine, or up to £1,000 fine if the case is taken to court.

Some animal-based groups and charities, such as Dogs Trust, have condemned PSPOs, claiming they enforce ‘unfair restrictions’ on dogs and owners. While Dogs Trust believes some orders will benefit the community, it states that introducing’ blanket bans’ will have consequences such as:

  • Potential health and welfare issues for dogs not getting off-lead exercise
  • Dogs lacking social interaction, which could cause behavioural issues
  • Responsible owners given a bad reputation
  • Impact on local dog-friendly businesses

On the beach

Make sure you check notices in car parks and on pavements with access to the beach. Numerous coastal counties enforce ‘no dogs’ or ‘dogs on leads only’ policies between May and September when beaches are typically packed, and don’t think twice about dishing out fines to owner-offenders.

Many of these notices last to the end of September, so always check the signs before those paws hit the sand.

At work

For many owners, having their pet pal as their desk buddy is a dream come true – and in fact, dogs at work have been proven to boost staff productivity and morale (even if they do cause some distractions).

There’s no specific law about bringing pets to work; it’s really down to employers whether or not to allow dogs in their workplace. Many companies which don’t usually allow dogs will make the exception on national Bring Your Dog to Work Day, which is held annually and raises money for some important doggy charities.

If you’ve been given the green light to bring your dog to work, it’s down to you to ensure that they’re well-trained, well-behaved, and won’t pose a risk (or too much of a nuisance) to your fellow colleagues.

Protecting your dog – and yourself

It’s useful to bear in mind that pet insurance isn’t just about covering vets bills. If your dog bites or injures someone, it’s possible that person could bring a claim against you. In some cases, pet insurance will protect you against this type of action. So isn’t it worth getting  a quick quote today?






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