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Someone in my area exercises his Border Collie behind his car while driving .....

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by WagTheDog, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. WagTheDog

    WagTheDog New Member Registered

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    I've recently become aware of the following happening in my area: a person who I don't know (but I know those who have seen this happen) exercises his Border Collie by letting it run free behind his car on a relatively quiet country road, sometimes for a distance of 3 or 4 miles. This doesn't happen every day, it's seemingly occasional and pretty random. The dog isn't tied to the car.

    The dog apparently loves it but of course, despite the road being relatively quiet there is still light intermittent traffic and naturally there is a risk of the dog being injured or an accident occurring with other road traffic.

    I've been told that this has been on ongoing for at least a year.

    Various local people have had a polite word with the owner about this but he takes no notice.

    I guess the next step is to get the police involved, or is there a 'better' solution? I've wondered if the people who have seen this should notify the RSPCA but I'm not sure if they would do anything.

    Another problem is that of proof - all we have is the word of these people against the owner's word, nobody has a video of this and all have been isolated reports, so there's been no other witnesses when the act has been seen.

    What's likely to be the best course of action here?

    As mentioned, I've not seen this myself but the people who have are good and trustworthy; if it goes to the police and the guy is prosecuted then he goes to court, witnesses are required, etc and during this Pandemic I can't imagine much being done.
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    It's certainly illegal - dogs must be on lead when on a public road. And it's so dangerous, both to the dog and to others, so I think it should be reported. I think I'd probably report it to the police as a law is being broken. I'd also suggest to the people who have witnessed this to contact the police too - the more reports they get, the more likely they are to do something - particularly if someone can supply the number plate.
     
    Dibbythedog likes this.
  3. Noodles

    Noodles New Member Registered

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    There is no law that requires all dogs to be on the lead on public roads.
    Dogs must be "under control" at all times and I would argue some are perfectly under control without a lead while others are out of control on one.
    Dogs in public must wear a collar with identification and be microchipped, they must never be "dangerously out of control" in any public or private place including in their own home, and some breeds are banned or restricted.
    Due to Coronavirus it is recommended (but not enforceable unless the local authority has invoked a Public Spaces Protection Order) that dogs are kept on leads to prevent breaches of Covid-19 regulations in the event of the dog running off, getting lost or getting into a fight with another dog.
    There are laws protecting livestock, public safety, fouling, assistance dogs and lots of other specific situations, as well as local byelaws banning dogs or requiring them to be on the lead in certain public spaces.
    But there is no law that says dogs must be on a lead on all public roads.

    Obviously the dog's welfare is another matter entirely.
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Sorry, I disagree: 'Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is a criminal offence for a dog to be on a designated road (ie. a public road) without being held on a lead. There are exceptions for dogs proved to be kept for driving or tending sheep or cattle in the course of a trade or business; and dogs proved to have been at the material time in use under proper control for sporting purposes' (A guide to the laws relating to the walking of dogs - InBrief.co.uk)

    And from Road Traffic Act 1988: '(1)A person who causes or permits a dog to be on a designated road without the dog being held on a lead is guilty of an offence.'
     
  5. Noodles

    Noodles New Member Registered

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    Read on, section 2: "In this section “designated road” means a length of road specified by an order in that behalf of the local authority in whose area the length of road is situated." - that's a "designated road" in a council's defined PSPO or whatever it's called. Not all roads.
    Road Traffic Act 1988
     
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Ah, fair enough - thanks. But it raises the question of how you know if a road is designated or not - what percentage of roads are undesignated?
     
  7. Noodles

    Noodles New Member Registered

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    All I can find is that they should be clearly signposted but I've never seen any such signpost on a road, only on footpaths and bridleways! This cropped up for us at the beginning of lockdown when our dog who is never on the lead was attacked by another dog 4 times his size who broke his lead to get to ours. We contacted the dog warden who said that bottom line if we wanted to go to court she would advise us that ours being off the lead would mean it would probably get thrown out. I then asked about the signs that had popped up everywhere locally telling people to keep dogs on leads (around parks etc) and nobody at her office or any other council department she could trace knew anything about these notices, but she explained about the Covid recommendations.

    I don't know if she's telling the truth about how a court would see it if a GSD broke its leash to attack a spaniel size terrier type dog that was trotting away from it minding its own business, but I found it disturbing. I looked into it as far as I could, can't get an answer on that point though.
     
  8. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I hope your dog recovered OK, @Noodles:( Such a shame the GSD's owner wouldn't take full responsibility for their dog. Hubby thinks that a designated road is simply one that has been recognised as a road, as opposed to a trailway, etc., so would apply to almost all roads - i.e. it has been designated as a road - but it's frustrating that we can't find a clear definition or how to identify if a road is designated.

    Though with a bit more googling, I've found 'Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is a criminal offence for a dog to be on a designated road (ie. a public road) without being held on a lead'.

    OTOH, 'Note : Designated roads are roads which central government has responsibility for (not local council authority). Trunk routes (M) class and some (A) class roads are classed as designated roads. Therefore this law only applies on certain roads' (Hounds running riot).

    So - yeah, it's a confusing, to say the least!
     
  9. Noodles

    Noodles New Member Registered

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    Thanks, that is getting messier and messier the more we look into it then. I have always looked at this from a dog law point of view because ours has never walked well on lead and is so much better off it that we don't use one for months on end (though I always carry one of course).

    And this is all the Highway Code says:
    "56 Dogs. Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders."
    Gov.uk says nothing at all other than being under control at all times and goes on about dangerous dogs and banned breeds.

    He did, thank you, we didn't even realise there were puncture wounds at first and it was in the thick of lockdown so never saw the vet, but thankfully got away with it. Bizarrely it made him much more sociable from that point on. At 9 years old he had always kept himself to himself and not bothered much with other dogs beyond a cursory greeting sniff if that. But after that he became more outgoing and more confident, he also got stud tail and he started scratching / kicking up after peeing. I'm new to dogs, this is fascinating. He has also started wanting to play with others.

    I don't think I'll be going to heaven though - a couple of days later he pooped out a massive clump of GSD hair and I couldn't help but feel proud of him for sticking up for himself.
     
  10. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I think you were quite justified. It's interesting that he came out of the incident seemingly more confident - maybe he realised he could look after himself if the situation required it.
     

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