A ‘responsible’ dog owner takes offence

I WOULD like to respond to the letter by Jaqui Booty of Sompting published in the Lancing Herald, regarding dogs attacking sheep at Coombes Farm.

As a responsible dog owner, I object to her sweeping generalisations about dog walkers and countryside users.

I am fortunate enough to be able to walk my two dogs regularly and they are not left at home alone all day.

However, there are times when I need to employ the services of a dog walker so that the dogs get their daily walks.

There are many valid reasons why dog owners need to use dog walkers.

Ms Booty seems to be inferring that owners are too lazy or not inclined to walk their dogs themselves these days.

Has she considered for a moment that owners could be ill or involved in caring for loved ones in an emergency?

Dog walkers provide a reliable and professional service and the ones that I have met while walking my dogs are responsible.

They will not take dogs that may be viewed as a nuisance or give cause for concern when out and about.

They have insurance, which put limits on the number of dogs they can walk.

Most will do four or five walks a day to ensure they do not exceed their limits rather than saving time as she thinks.

I suspect she is not a dog owner and therefore has had very few dealings with professional dog walking service providers.

I feel that dog owners have a moral duty to ensure that the walkers they use are operating safely and do their homework before employing one.

After all, it is like trusting someone with your nearest and dearest. Perhaps if Ms Booty lived next door to a dog that barked all day for want of a walk, she might have a different opinion.

I agree with her in as much as users of the countryside need to be aware of the Countryside Code.

All dogs should be on leads near livestock.

If people really are that unaware of the code, then we need to educate them.

I suspect that the people she refers to are a minority of thoughtless ones rather than the majority she assumes are ignorant.

I hope Ms Booty intervened, as part of her duty to ensure the well-being of the countryside, when she saw these countless numbers of people damaging it.

I assume she reported the lady in the Land Rover to the Adur Dog Warden.

By all means highlight issues but please don’t offend the majority of responsible citizens in the process.

Stuart Gladwell

Squirrel Lodge

Crockhurst Hill