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OPINION: Hats off to JD Wetherspoon for banning dogs from its pubs

PUBLISHED: 14:48 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 21 September 2018

Cute? You might think so, but Steve Downes isn't convinced. Photo: Thinkstock

Cute? You might think so, but Steve Downes isn't convinced. Photo: Thinkstock

Archant

Its time dog owners took more control of their pets, says Steve Downes.

You may choose to have a dog. That does not mean that everybody else chooses it too. I certainly don’t: I can barely look after myself.

So when your dog barks aggressively at me when I’m jogging, it’s not good enough to say it’s “just being boisterous” - get it away from me and get it under control.

And when your pooch sticks its nose in my crotch or tries to get it on with my leg, it’s not good enough to say it’s “just being friendly” - get it away from me and get it under control.

If I’m with my granddaughter at the park and your pet bounds up to her, looms over her and frightens her, it’s not good enough to say it “loves children” - to her it seems like a giant wolf, so get it away from us and get it under control.

Newsflash: just because you love your dog so much that you clear up its poo and let it lick your face, that does not mean we all share your feelings.

In the same way that I have always felt responsible for how my children behave in public, and done my utmost to stop them disturbing other people, dog owners should control their pets.

How do you feel when your neighbour plays their music too loud? Do you think: “Aw, how nice that he is sharing his love for grime?”

No, you probably wish he would keep his musical passion to himself.

The same goes for the mouth-breathers who drive souped-up cars with blacked-out windows, playing music so loud that it registers with Mr Richter. I book a mobile disco for a special event, not for when I’m walking down Magdalen Street.

None of us likes to have the views or passions of others imposed on us - so hats off to JD Wetherspoon for recognising that fact by banning dogs from its outlets.

The demand to take your dog into a cafe or restaurant is a symptom of a selfish society.

It’s not a demonstration of personal liberty, but quite the opposite - for it impinges on the liberty of others.

It affects my freedom to choose where to eat or drink. I like the option of not hearing yapping, smelling damp dog or being licked.

By all means have some cafes and restaurants that are dog friendly. It would be a nonsense if, for example, pubs on the North Norfolk coast banned dogs. After all, it’s a Mecca for walking, and landlords would be signing their own bankruptcy notice.

But if you go into a cafe, pub or restaurant and are told your dog can’t come in, deal with it.

Despite society’s growing sense of entitlement, we are not entitled to make others feel uncomfortable.

Your right to to a dog’s dinner rubs up against my right to eat in peace, anxiety free.

And as far as I know, humans trump dogs.

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