Ban on walking more than six dogs confirmed in North Somerset

The council met at Weston-super-Mare town hall on Wednesday 6 September.

A ban on walking more than six dogs at once will come into force in North Somerset.

The ban covers all spaces in North Somerset open to the public, with or without payment, and was voted in by council's executive on 6 September.

Council leader Mike Bell said a public consultation showed "strong support" for the plan.

But added: "Clearly there will be exceptional circumstances and we will need to keep that under review in terms of the operational realities."

The move comes after dog attacks in North Somerset reportedly rose from 385 in 2020 to 480 so far this year.

Portishead South councillor Peter Burden warned the executive that the rule was “a step too far", saying the council already had powers to make people put a dog on a lead - it was often dog owners with fewer dogs who were less able to control them. 

Cllr Burden said: “I work for a hot air balloon company and at the balloon fiesta last year, a fair number of the balloons headed off towards Yatton, landed in a field.

"Two Labradors came over that were totally out of control whereas the pilot and I noticed in the corner of the field in Yatton there was a man on his own with about 25 beagles. Those beagles did not move."

But deputy council leader Catherine Gibbons said that people being able to control such a large number of dogs was “the exception, not the rule.”

She said: “Dogs are not predictable. You can train them extremely well; I am a dog owner. But something can happen and that can trigger them and they can act like a pack.”

Further rules and restrictions for dog owners could come into force in specific areas.

The council will be engaging with towns and parishes for more localised, area-specific issues.

Credit: John Wimperis: Local Democracy Reporter