Council seeks residents’ views on dog control

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:13 17 June 2010

THE MAJORITY of East Devon s dog owners are responsible, taking care that their dogs do not foul public areas. However, a number of owners are not so careful and so create a problem for the community in general. The district has around 20 new small, encl

THE MAJORITY of East Devon's dog owners are responsible, taking care that their dogs do not foul public areas. However, a number of owners are not so careful and so create a problem for the community in general.

The district has around 20 new small, enclosed children's play areas from which most people agree dogs should be excluded. The law has changed and the Council has been unable to simply create another byelaw to cover these in the same way that its beaches and other play areas are controlled.

The Government has advised that the new Dog Control Order provisions brought in by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 should be used instead. Dog fouling in most of East Devon is controlled by the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. Rather than create a dog control order simply for the new areas, which would have left the Council with three completely separate dog control regulations, each with different sets of forms and different penalties attached, it was agreed by EDDC's Executive Board in November 2007 that the existing byelaws and Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act controls should be consolidated into a simple set of new Dog Control Orders.

As well as proposing the additional 20 play areas for dog bans, the Council asked Town and Parish Councils if they thought other areas should be considered. Few changes were requested but, where they felt a change was appropriate because of local need, this was incorporated into EDDC's proposed Dog Control Orders, which are now out for public consultation.

The proposed Orders would ban dogs from certain areas, require dog mess to be picked up on all open land where the public is entitled to go and, in some areas, require dogs to be kept on leads.

Under the new Dog Control Orders, all offences are punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 following conviction. For first offences, officers may issue a fixed penalty notice with a fine of £80.

The Council is also considering the use of the Dog Control Orders to make it an offence not to put, and keep, a dog on a lead when told to do so by an authorised officer, and for one person to take more than six dogs at a time onto public land.

It is now asking the public what it thinks of the proposals. Responses to the proposals must be received by 23 January 2009.

Following this feedback, the Orders will either be fully or partly confirmed, or revised, and the public will then be asked to consider these changes for another 28-day consultation period.

Councillor Miss Jill Elson, EDDC's Portfolio Holder Communities, said: "What we are trying to do is tidy up the legislation governing dogs in public places. We are not setting out to upset or make life difficult for responsible dog owners, but we have a duty to protect the public from the unpleasantness of dog fouling - and the disease that can result from oral contact with it. We hope these new Orders, which do not differ greatly from the existing Orders, once they have been subject to public comment, will make life better for all concerned."

Full details of the proposed Orders may be found on the Council's website at: http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/dog_wardens or they may be viewed at town council offices throughout the district.

Comments may be emailed to: environmentalhealth@eastdevon.gov.uk. Or they may be sent to Mrs R. Wright, Environment Protection at East Devon District Council.


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