AN ANIMAL welfare charity has called on local authorities to consider easing rules on where dogs can be exercised to help dog walkers comply with lockdown rules.

After England entered its third national lockdown, the RSPCA, the UK's largest animal welfare charity, has called for councils to temporarily relax Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) related to dog walking to enable dog walkers to exercise easily and adhere to lockdown measures.

Dorset Council recently updated rules on dogs in public spaces in the council area. These include restrictions on dogs on certain beaches between May 1 and September 30, dogs being banned on marked sports pitches and dogs having to be kept on leads in signposted areas.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA's companion animals department, said: "With England now in national lockdown, there are clear restrictions in place concerning exercise, which will impact many dog walkers.

"Many local authorities have previously introduced PSPOs that stop dogs being walked in certain areas. In some areas, there are concerns this restricts the availability of suitable dog walking spots."

The RSPCA is advising the public to keep dogs on leads during lockdown to help ensure social distancing and avoid owners from having to come into close contact with another person should they have to go and retrieve their dog.

Dog owners have also been reminded that they may be able to help a vulnerable person or someone in their local community that is isolating or shielding with their dog walking and should follow the guidance on handover protocols and safety from the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG).

Dr Gaines said: "Many people also face the prospect of self-isolating, or shielding, and it's important people remember that someone else in your local community - whether a family, friend or professional dog walkers - may be able to walk your dog.

"After almost ten months of restrictions already, we know this is a tough time and we expect to be inundated with questions from concerned pet owners so we urge people to spread the word and share guidance on the RSPCA website."

For more information on the RSPCA, visit and for guidance from the CFSG, visit