POPULAR pub chain Wetherspoons has banned dogs from all of its branches.

The bars have had a policy of not allowing mutts into any pubs, including all outside areas, since opening in 1979 - although, in recent years, it has allowed “a few exceptions.”

However, after “much” consultation, bosses have now decided to strictly enforce this policy to all venues as of September 10.

A Wetherspoons spokeswoman told the Evening Times in a statement: “Even well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable. Every dog owner thinks their dog is perfect.

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“We welcome a lot of children and families. Younger children, in particular, can be unpredictable around dogs and many are scared of dogs.

“We also serve a lot of food.”

Assistance dogs are the exception to the rule.

The decision has not gone down well with a leading dog sitting service.

DogBuddy said it was “concerned” with the upcoming rule.

A spokeswoman said: “We believe dogs are a big part of the pub experience and only add to the existing charm and community feel of a local pub.

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“Already, 34 per cent of dog owners struggle to find a dog-friendly pub, and two-thirds of owners have decided not to visit a pub because it wasn’t suitable for their dog.

“Now, it seems it's going to become even harder. This is a great shame for the dogs and a missed opportunity for the publicans.

“In an ideal world, we’d love for every pub in the UK to be dog-friendly. We launched the “Dog-Friendly Pub Awards” three years ago to celebrate pubs across the UK that welcome our four-legged friends and give them a happy and safe environment. Long may they continue to do so.”