CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed the council's decision to amend a controversial dog walking limit in Wyre Forest from three dogs to six.

Wyre Forest District Council's cabinet voted last week to change the rule, meaning people can now walk six dogs at one time instead of three, after 900 people responded to a consultation.

Speaking at March's cabinet meeting, Councillor Helen Dyke said: "We had over 900 responses to our consultation on the dog control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). 212 of those were from out of the area.

"A clear majority were either agreeing or agreeing strongly with the dog control order, except for the number of dogs under control - the majority were in favour of increasing this from three to six."

Responding to criticism that the council had been "undemocratic" on the issue, Cllr Dyke said: "We considered the results of an open consultation process. At the time, a six month review on the PSPO was promised and has taken place.

"This council has encouraged and enabled the public to speak on the matter. Lastly, the recommendation before cabinet this evening reflects the wishes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, therefore I am at a loss as to how this has been an undemocratic process.

"There has been much mention of a petition, but what has been omitted is that this was a global petition including signatures from all over the world."

The decision to extend the dog limit has been welcomed by local owners Linda McKenzie and Lisa Taylor, who launched the petition against the rule last year, saying it would cause problems for professional dog walkers and agility dog owners.

Lisa said: "The council promised a six month review and they kept that promise, however I would have preferred for the consultation survey to offer a choice of no limit on the number of dogs.

"It’s only a passionate and sustained campaign that has made them look at this and only the hundreds of people who signed the survey and thousands that signed the petition."

The move has also been welcomed by The Kennel Club, which worked closely with Lisa and Linda on the campaign.

Dr Ed Hayes, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club, said: “We welcome the decision by Wyre Forest Council to increase the number of dogs a person can walk and thank the councillors for taking our views into consideration.

“The maximum number of dogs a person can walk in a controlled manner depends on a number of factors relating to the dog walker and the dogs being walked as well as the location or time of the walk and therefore we don’t believe introducing blanket limits on the number of dogs walked is the best solution.

"Furthermore, placing a limit on the number of dogs a person can walk risks penalising responsible dog owners simply due to the number of dogs they own, rather than their ability to keep their dogs under control.

“The Kennel Club would recommend local authorities instead use 'dogs on lead by direction' orders and targeted measures such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Community Protection Orders to address people who don’t have control of the dogs they are walking.”