A North Wales local authority has been urged not to restrict, or prohibit, dogs from accessing marked sports playing fields, for fear of compromising their welfare.

RSPCA Cymru fears measures by Wrexham Council may inadvertently demonise responsible dog owners, as a consultation concerning the implementation of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) for parks in the council area concludes.

The charity has responded to new plans from Wrexham Council concerning dogs in public spaces. These include banning dogs from marked sports playing fields and making it a requirement for dogs to be kept on leads around car parks and visitor centres, in parks and on public roads and pavements.

RSPCA Cymru works proactively with Wrexham Council, and recently recognised the local authority with a gold award for its stray dog provision as part of its Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme.

Public Affairs Manager for RSPCA Cymru, Paul Smith, said:

“Local authorities must utilise their powers to seek to deliver integrated communities, with responsible pet owners and those not owning pets living harmoniously.

“We don’t want these powers to accidentally create a negative view of dog ownership within local communities by implementing undue restrictions, or inadvertently demonise responsible dog owners.

“As such, we are worried by any move to forbid dogs from marked sports playing pitches in Wrexham, particularly if adequate space for exercise is not available nearby. Responsible dog owners need to walk their dogs all year round, and need access to appropriate, accessible spaces to do so.

“Opportunities should also be available for dogs to be able to exercise off the lead; allowing dogs to best express their normal behavioural patterns.”

RSPCA Cymru works extensively, and in partnership, with local government in the interests of animal welfare. Further consultation response and submissions can be found on the PoliticalAnimal.wales website.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 and one standard network rate message). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.