Flintshire County Council will launch a consultation with residents on Thursday around new proposals which will see stricter controls on dogs in public spaces.
The council wants to implement Public Space Protection Orders, or PSPOs, which are intended to prevent anti-social behaviour in public areas such as parks, kids play area’s, marked sport pitches, all schools grounds and cemeteries.
The new PSPOs will give the council greater powers to deal with irresponsible owners who fail to pick up their dogs waste, the new powers will also allow authorised council officers to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to dog walkers who appear to have no “means of collecting dog waste.”
A minority of dog owners do not always act responsibly when walking their dogs in the community and complaints have been made on the issue of dog fouling and nuisance behaviour when dogs are not under proper control.
The current dog control order will cease in October 2017 and the proposed order will provide means for the authority to deal with the irresponsible dog owners in the community, whilst encouraging a culture of responsible dog ownership.
The order will bring a number of benefits to help achieve cleaner and tidier communities in Flintshire leading to a more pleasant environment, ensure cleaner sporting and play areas for children and adults and reduce the likelihood of serious health problems associated with dog faeces.
The order will actively pursue the promotion of responsible dog ownership through reasonable and proportionate compliance
Protection orders could also be used to completely ban dogs from certain open spaces and enforce or require owners to keep dogs on leads, failure to comply with a protection order will result in aFixed Penalty Notice.
Public Space Protection Orders came into existence as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
PSPOs allow for broad powers to criminalise behaviour within a geographically defined area, making predefined activities within a mapped area prosecutable.
The proposals in the Dog Control PSPO include:
- Dog waste to be removed immediately from all public land.
- A dog walker may be asked by an authorised officer to place their dog on a lead.
- Dogs to be excluded from the playing areas of marked sports pitches, designated sporting areas, school grounds and fenced children’s play areas.
- Dogs to be kept on a lead in cemeteries.
- Dog walkers to have a means of collecting dog waste if asked by an authorised officer.
Any breaches would result in the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
The PSPO, which will last for an initial period of 3 years, is required to replace the council’s current Dog Control Order.
The council had looked at creating a dog DNA database which would have been used to reduce the problem of dog mess in Flintshire.
Dog poo DNA tests have been trialled in the east London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, officials there say early results showed a 50% reduction in the amount of mess left by dog owners and the scheme is being expanded such is the success.
The proposal for Flintshire would have seen the creation of dedicated areas for dog walkers who’d registered their pet on the DNA database, a tag on the dog’s collar would show that have been registered.
It’d be an ‘offence’ to walk a dog in the designated area without a tag, any dog mess found in the area would be traceable through a DNA test.
Flintshire councillors threw out proposals in January opting instead for the new Public Space Protection Orders.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell, said:
We hope that this PSPO will help to deal with dog fouling issues as well as tackling dogs running loose in public areas. Of course, it’s important to exercise our pets, but we also need to make sure that other members of the public can use our public spaces safely and free from dog waste.
The consultation will open on 1 June and close on 29 June 2017:
Documents may be viewed at County Hall, Raikes Lane, Mold CH7 6ND. You can also go to your local library or Connects office where you can get help accessing the documents online.