Eindhoven is launching a campaign to get more dogs leashed. This is in addition to local rules to ensure there are fewer dogs running loose.
“Research has shown that free running dogs really have a huge negative effect on biodiversity”, Bart Habraken, who as a GroenLinks (green left party) council member called for a campaign, says. “They scare other animals or even attack them”. Dogs dig, eat eggs and run after other animals. According to Habraken, it is not unwillingness, but often ignorance of dog owners who let their four-legged friends run loose. With the campaign they hope to make people more aware of this.
Still, not all dog owners like the strict rules. At Kannunikesven in Schuttersbos, stray dogs are now still tolerated, the people who walk there with their pets hope that it stays that way. “Dogs don’t belong on a leash”, one woman says. “All you get from that is a stressed dog. That’s not fair to them, they should be able to run”. Another woman shares that opinion. “I have three huskies. They need to be able to run, otherwise it won’t be fun at home”.
The campaign comes on top of stricter regulations. In fact, many places already have a ban on unleashed dogs, but because the text of the local ordinance refers to “public road”, it was difficult to enforce. The legal text will therefore be changed to ‘public place’.
“With the campaign, we want to make people aware of the consequences of a dog running loose, and prevent people from being fined”, Habraken says. Alderman Rik Thijs: “We recognise the problem and see that a solution is not easy. It cannot necessarily be achieved with more enforcers”, he says. “But I believe that people who have a dog do not want biodiversity to deteriorate”.
People seem unaware of the damage dogs do: “My dog sometimes runs after bunnies, but has never caught one”, one dog owner says. “I also don’t think those dogs can do that much damage” he adds.
“My dog did run after a rabbit once, but there’s not a whole lot you can do about that. I think you just have to know where to go with your animals. I don’t think there are any rabbits around here”, the owner of the three huskies says.
Another woman understands, but thinks dog owners can take responsibility for themselves. “Dogs can be raised, just like children”, she says. “I don’t see why a dog shouldn’t be allowed to run loose if they listen well. My dogs don’t chase game”. “Or take your dog to designated area’s where they can run without disrupting nature!”
Translated by: Bob