Dog control measures - further information: Dogs on leads

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Dogs to be placed on leads if requested by an authorised officer

The council recognises that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and keep their dogs under control while they are out. However, if they are not properly supervised and kept under control, dogs that are allowed off a lead in public areas can cause nuisance or even injury to members of the public or other animals and may cause road traffic accidents.

Prior to 2018, there were a significant number of areas where dogs have been required to be on a lead at all times. We believe that, for animal welfare reasons, it is advantageous for dog owners to be able to exercise their dogs off lead in open spaces. We do, however, recognise that, on certain occasions or in certain circumstances, the option should exist for authorised officers to require a dog to be put on a lead. Dogs that are considered to be not under proper control will become subject to this part of the Order. Authorised officers will always carry appropriate identification. The current maximum fine for a Fixed Penalty Notice is £100 and up to £1000 on prosecution.

The proposal is therefore that all public land in the borough, or land to which the public has access (except for land at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners) will continue to be subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order, which would require the person in control of a dog to put the dog on a lead if requested to do so by an authorised officer. Authorised officers will carry appropriate identification.

This provision means we can deal with any behaviour by a dog that is likely to cause annoyance or disturbance without introducing overly restrictive measures on all dogs and dog owners at all times. This flexible approach allows officers to address issues that arise in any area at any time during the lifetime of the Order. (Please note that there are a small number of specific sites where dogs must be kept on a lead at all times-see below)


Dogs to always be on a lead in a small number of specific sites

Dogs must always be placed on a lead on some specified sites. The sites identified are those where there have been specific issues in allowing dogs to run free at any time.

Prior to the introduction of the PSPO, we regularly received complaints about dog owners taking dogs into council-maintained cemeteries and the crematorium gardens and allowing them to wander freely. The consequences are that dogs may defecate and urinate on graves and in memorial gardens causing an unpleasant environment in an area meant for peace and respect. There have also been instances of dogs digging inappropriately if left to roam free. We realise that people may wish to take their pets into cemeteries and the crematorium gardens but it can be distressing for other visitors if dogs are allowed to run free.


Length of lead to be specified in the Order

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Schedule 2) requires a short lead to be used in certain circumstances. A short lead is defined as less than 2 metres (m) and of fixed length. This is reflected in the current PSPO in that, when there is a requirement in the Order for a dog to be on a lead, a lead is defined as being of fixed length and of not more than 2m. Extendable leads are acceptable but, they should be locked at a length of 2m or less. We believe that the use of extendable leads in excess of 2m does not represent effective dog control when there is a requirement for placing a dog on a lead.

Dogs to be placed on leads if requested by an authorised officer

The council recognises that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and keep their dogs under control while they are out. However, if they are not properly supervised and kept under control, dogs that are allowed off a lead in public areas can cause nuisance or even injury to members of the public or other animals and may cause road traffic accidents.

Prior to 2018, there were a significant number of areas where dogs have been required to be on a lead at all times. We believe that, for animal welfare reasons, it is advantageous for dog owners to be able to exercise their dogs off lead in open spaces. We do, however, recognise that, on certain occasions or in certain circumstances, the option should exist for authorised officers to require a dog to be put on a lead. Dogs that are considered to be not under proper control will become subject to this part of the Order. Authorised officers will always carry appropriate identification. The current maximum fine for a Fixed Penalty Notice is £100 and up to £1000 on prosecution.

The proposal is therefore that all public land in the borough, or land to which the public has access (except for land at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners) will continue to be subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order, which would require the person in control of a dog to put the dog on a lead if requested to do so by an authorised officer. Authorised officers will carry appropriate identification.

This provision means we can deal with any behaviour by a dog that is likely to cause annoyance or disturbance without introducing overly restrictive measures on all dogs and dog owners at all times. This flexible approach allows officers to address issues that arise in any area at any time during the lifetime of the Order. (Please note that there are a small number of specific sites where dogs must be kept on a lead at all times-see below)


Dogs to always be on a lead in a small number of specific sites

Dogs must always be placed on a lead on some specified sites. The sites identified are those where there have been specific issues in allowing dogs to run free at any time.

Prior to the introduction of the PSPO, we regularly received complaints about dog owners taking dogs into council-maintained cemeteries and the crematorium gardens and allowing them to wander freely. The consequences are that dogs may defecate and urinate on graves and in memorial gardens causing an unpleasant environment in an area meant for peace and respect. There have also been instances of dogs digging inappropriately if left to roam free. We realise that people may wish to take their pets into cemeteries and the crematorium gardens but it can be distressing for other visitors if dogs are allowed to run free.


Length of lead to be specified in the Order

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Schedule 2) requires a short lead to be used in certain circumstances. A short lead is defined as less than 2 metres (m) and of fixed length. This is reflected in the current PSPO in that, when there is a requirement in the Order for a dog to be on a lead, a lead is defined as being of fixed length and of not more than 2m. Extendable leads are acceptable but, they should be locked at a length of 2m or less. We believe that the use of extendable leads in excess of 2m does not represent effective dog control when there is a requirement for placing a dog on a lead.