A DOG trainer from Bewdley says a new rule limiting the number of dogs people can walk in Wyre Forest will leave owners of more than three dogs in a "difficult situation".

Wyre Forest District Council approved a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which bans people from walking more than three dogs at a time from October.

'The Dog Charmer' Linda McKenzie says the ban will cause problems for professional dog walkers and agility dog owners, who typically keep more than three dogs, and has launched a petition alongside local dog owner Lisa Taylor for the order to be rescinded.

Linda told The Shuttle: "The Wyre Forest District Council PSPO restricting the number of dogs that can be walked by any one person is not supported by any evidence, is not appropriate and is disproportionate.

"For owners of multiple trained agility dogs who compete at a very high level, they will not be able to walk more than three dogs from their front door down the street to their car."

One of the petition's supporters, Jayne Greene, has owned a pack of rescue dogs in Bewdley for the last 25 years, but will soon be unable to walk her four dogs at the same time under the new rule.

A public consultation was held in May and June, which received more than 870 responses, however Linda says the consultation was too small-scale to gain an accurate picture of public opinion.

She said: "Our petition has received 1,990 supporters' signatures in three days, which is more people than the council reached in two months. Many people were not aware of the original consultation."

Councillor Helen Dyke, cabinet member for culture, leisure and community protection, said: "Earlier this year, we consulted widely with local residents on a number of proposals designed to keep our district safe, clean and a green living environment.

"We promoted the survey widely, with articles in the local media, lots of social media and direct emails to our many subscribers.

"877 local residents responded to our survey on proposed dog controls, which asked their views on a number of measures, such as requiring dog owners and walkers to clean up after their pets and putting their dog on a lead in certain areas, such as children’s play areas.

"The vast majority of respondents supported our proposals, and a clear majority were in favour of restricting the number of dogs any one person could exercise at one time.

"Results from the surveys were discussed and debated by members and a decision taken to implement the restrictions with effect from October.

"We will review the situation after six months and take on board any further feedback we receive during this time.

"If people in Wyre Forest do come across issues with any of the controls during the next few months, then I would ask them to let their local councillor know so they can be part of the review that will be undertaken.”

To view the petition, go to change.org.