96% say 'no' to Ottery dog ban

PUBLISHED: 14:24 01 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 June 2010

AS HUNDREDS oppose a dog-ban for an Ottery field, it was revealed a byelaw that forbids owners from letting their pets off the lead on the site has existed for 13 years.

AS HUNDREDS oppose a dog-ban for an Ottery field, it was revealed a byelaw that forbids owners from letting their pets off the lead on the site has existed for 13 years.

East Devon District Council's region-wide public consultation drew to a close last Friday with 96 per cent of Ottery's 455 responses against a potential pooch ban on the Winters Lane Playing Field and a dogs-on-leads restriction in the Land of Canaan.

Both areas, which have seen a group of residents and the town council at loggerheads over the proposed orders, have been the subject of canine restrictions since the mid 1990s.

A byelaw passed on May 1, 1995, states dogs must be kept on leads when being walked in both areas, but has not been enforced.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: "While it (the byelaw) has lapsed and has not been policed, strictly speaking it is still in effect and in law it still exists."

She said that, when decided, new dog-control orders will replace existing byelaws and added: "nothing is set in stone yet."

EDDC's environmental health team will analyse all responses fro East Devon residents before the dog control orders are discussed by executive board members in March or April.

Seventeen people contacted EDDC in support of Ottery's proposed restrictions. Of the 438 objections, 75 were letters or e-mails, 237 were individually signed leaflets and 126 were signatures collected over three petitions.

Councillor Jill Elson, East Devon District Council's Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: "We recognise that a significant number of people in Ottery St Mary have been particularly vocal in opposing some of the council's proposals and their opinions will be taken into consideration when recommendations are put forward to members".

"The Council is trying to tidy up its regulations governing dogs in public places and to make them easier for the public to understand, which should lead to better. We are not setting out to make life difficult for responsible dog owners, but we have a duty to protect the public from the unpleasantness of dog fouling."

"The new orders do not differ greatly from existing ones."

EDDC also confirmed that town councils now have the power to make dog control orders for their own areas and to employ their own dog warden(s) if they wish to do so.

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