People are being invited to have their say on a review of dog control measures in County Durham.
Durham County Council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Dog Control in 2017 in response to community concerns about irresponsible dog ownership.
The PSPO, which gives the council powers to issue fines for offences such as dog fouling and allowing a dog to stray, is due for renewal in May.
The council is seeking views on proposals to add a number of further offences to the order, which would apply across the county.
The existing PSPO gives the council powers to issue a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice for the following offences:
• Allowing a dog to foul without picking it up
• Allowing a dog to stray
• Failure to put a dog on a lead when asked to do so by an authorised person
• Allowing a dog in a fenced off play area
The additional measures proposed include:
• Banning dogs from fenced off play areas, tennis courts and games areas
• Keeping dogs on leads in churchyards, cemeteries and crematoria
• Requiring dogs to be on leads on identified marked sports pitches
• Restricting dog walkers to walk a maximum of six dogs at once
• Requiring all dogs in an open space to have a collar and tag
• Banning dogs from the “slope” beach in Seaham between 10am and 6pm from May to September – this is the small beach accessible from the marina area
Cllr Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, said: “While we know the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, we also know that issues like dog fouling and strays are ongoing concerns for our residents.
“The PSPO gives us powers to tackle irresponsible dog owners who cause problems in our communities by failing to look after or control their pets. The actions of these owners can create all sorts of worry and stress to other people.
“What we’re looking to do now is build on the existing PSPO by making a range of additions to it. The additional offences we’re proposing are in response to the kinds of things people have told us over recent years, such as requiring dogs to be on leads in cemeteries and identified marked sports pitches.
“Most of all, we just really want to hear what people think. We are seeking the views of local residents, businesses and community groups and they’ll all be taken into consideration before any decisions are made.”
The council’s proposal for a seasonal ban on dogs from the “slope” beach at Seaham follows surveys carried out there last summer, which found that 60 per cent of dogs were not on leads. It aims to strike a balance between the needs of young families, swimmers and dog walkers and is solely in relation to the slope beach, which is the small beach accessed from the marina area, and not Seaham’s larger beaches.
The consultation period started today (23 January) and will run for seven weeks before closing on Monday 13 March.
If agreed, the new PSPO would be introduced in May 2023 and reviewed after three years.
For full details of the proposals and to take part in the consultation, visit www.durham.gov.uk/consultation.
Paper surveys will be available from libraries and Customer Access Points.