Crufts competitor slams 'ridiculous' limit meaning she can only walk six of her nine dogs at once

Hilary and her dogs - Morgan, Tegan, Scooby, Darcy, Rocky, May, Remi, Foggy, and Nora.

A Crufts competitor from Portishead is objecting to a "ridiculous" ban on walking more than six dogs at once in North Somerset.

North Somerset Council says the new rule, which comes into force on Monday 16 October, is designed to keep people safe after a rise in dog related incidents.

But Hilary Holley, who trains her nine dogs in obedience and has competed at Crufts, says the numbers behind the new rule have been "plucked out of thin air".

Hilary said: "It's ridiculous. I can control nine dogs. I have more control over nine dogs than a lot of people have with one dog. I don't know why the council have done it.

"I love my dogs to bits. I just love taking them out and doing stuff with them together."

Hilary argues that concerns with out of control dogs should be dealt with individually, rather than introducing bans.

She is being supported by her local councillor who says the ban is "a badly thought out solution for a problem that doesn't exist".

Councillor Peter Burden said: " I think six is a totally arbitrary number. I've got a small holding around the corner.

"My sheep have been distressed and chased by out of control dogs and they've been individuals.

"I think the council has powers to instruct people to keep their dogs under control - which I totally agree with. And I think the arbitrary number is unreasonable."

Hilary and Darcy at Crufts. Credit: Richard Moss Furtography

Dog walkers in Leigh Woods had mixed views about the ban.

One walker said: "I've never had a bad experience with those with six dogs or more. But I've had a lot of bad experiences with those with single dogs."

But another added: "It's a lot of responsibility to look after the dogs properly and make sure every one of them is safe. Overall I think the limit on numbers is a good idea."

Councillor James Clayton from North Somerset Council insists this ban is about protecting the public after a rise in dog related incidents.

Mr Clayton said: "Hilary may have well trained dogs but there are other cases where people are walking many dogs who are not well trained.

"Since 2020 we've seen an upward trend of dog on dog attacks and also other dog related cases.

"What this order does is tighten those restrictions on numbers and hopefully bring down those cases."