A cash-strapped council has come up with an ingenious way of raking in revenue from law-abiding people (from the Manchester Evening News):
Dog owners are facing £1,000 fines if they take their pets to the park on long leads.
The ban on leads longer than two metres (6ft5in) applies to dozens of parks and open spaces.
Bosses at Tameside council say they have brought in the measure to reduce dog fouling. The council says owners are more likely to clean up after their pets if they are on a short lead.
Tameside is the first local authority in Greater Manchester to bring in the rule and introduced it despite many retractable leads being between five and eight metres in length.
I would love to see the council's research that suggests the distance between dog-on-lead and dog-owner is representative of the likelihood of said dog-owner cleaning up dog mess. I would predict that no such research exists (not even a council would be stupid enough to commission something like that) - but even if it did, I would think that the personality of the dog owner is a far stronger (if not the strongest) indicator of whether dog mess is cleared-up.
Then there's the question of how this policy would be policed. Are we going to see litter wardens and PCSOs in Tameside whipping out their tape measures every time a person walks past with a dog on a lead?
Overall, it takes a sane person all of 10 seconds to realise this idea is completely barking mad (if you'll excuse the pun). Rather than targeting the people that leave dog mess, it hits law-abiding dog walkers in the pocket. Fining someone for the length of their dog lead is absurd; fining someone £1000 is outrageous.
Final word goes to Tameside Council who claim the idea is intended to make parks 'more enjoyable' - Ministry of Love anyone?
By Dylan Sharpe