I read with interest your article on the banning of Derbyshire County Council Countryside Service Rangers’ dogs in reaction to what appears to have been a single complaint.
So a knee-jerk response sweeps away a forty-year history, a history that includes DCC actually providing rangers with dogs (albeit some years ago).
While it is important that DCC is sensitive to the views of all users, surely in the context of countryside services, in an environment where visitors expect to see dogs, it is ludicrous to ban rangers’ dogs without first investigating alternative ways in which - short of a ban - users’ concerns can be addressed.
As far as I am aware there has been no consultation with the rangers or indeed any effort at all to look at protocols which could be put in place to ensure that dogs can continue to contribute to the work of rangers without impacting on their ability to deliver a service to the public.
DCC managers have simply made a unilateral decision.
This might be fair if staff had been taking advantage of a lack of management direction concerning dogs, but I am aware that this is not the case.
Staff have sought permission before taking dogs to work, indeed some rangers have re-homed rescue dogs precisely because they knew they could take the animal to work.
Now they have the dilemma of whether to leave the dog at home all day, possibly alone and distressed, or to re-home their pet.
To have reached this decision following a single complaint, to ignore the many thousands of positive encounters that rangers and their dogs have had with members of the public over the forty-year history of the countryside service, and to exclude staff completely from the decision making process is unacceptable.
It is a lazy decision and we should expect a more reasonable approach from our public servants. This is an opinion I intend to share with our elected representatives.