Dogs can urinate on lamposts, a judge has ruled, as walkers have won a High Court victory against a council who tried to ban the practice.
Caroline Summers, a dog owner from Richmond, London, fought the introduction of blanket restrictions being introduced by the council which would have enabled it to criminalize local dog owners if they peed on properties or annoyed members of the public.
The landmark decision will now help protect dog owners up and down the country from similar action by authorities if their dogs are seen peeing on lampposts.
It is the first example of a Public Spaces Protection Order, which gives local authorities the power to issue blanket bans on certain activities, being successfully challenged in the High Court.
Since they were first introduced in 2013 PSPOs have led to dog walking bans and severe restrictions in hundreds of parks and open spaces in the UK.
Under the PSPOs proposed by Richmond council, dog owners would have been found guilty of an offence if their dog caused an annoyance to another person or animal, or caused damage to any Council structure, equipment, tree, turf or other Council property.
However thanks to the judgement, which was handed down on 12 April at the High Court in the case of Summers v London Borough Of Richmond Upon Thames, the change will no longer be brought forward.
If local councils in other areas of the UK attempt to bring about similar changes the victory will help other dog walkers fight against it.
Caroline Kisko, secretary at the Kennel Club, a canine welfare organisation, said: “We believe that this is the first time that a Public Spaces Protection Order has been successfully challenged in a court of law and it is a major victory that will help to protect responsible dog owners up and down the country.
“The proposals in Richmond, if successful, would have given the council the right to prosecute dog owners whose dogs urinated on their walk, as this could be interpreted as ‘damage to council property or turf’, or if a non-dog lover reported feeling annoyed by the presence of a dog in a public space, even if that dog had behaved impeccably.”
She added: “It is another example of over-zealous councils using their powers to unfairly penalise dog owners and to freeze them out of public spaces, so this victory not only protects dog walkers in Richmond but sets a precedent to protect dogs across the UK.