DOG owners who let their pets foul public areas or off the lead near urban roads could face fixed penalty fines of £75 under sweeping new powers agreed this morning. (Wednesday)
South Lakeland District Council’s ruling Cabinet approved the introduction of four new dog control orders to act as a fresh deterrent to those who fail to clean up after their pets.
It says the new measures - which follow public consultation - are designed to deal with a major annoyance to law-abiding residents and responsible dog walkers.
Four SLDC enforcement officers as well as local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and police officers now have powers to:
* Issue fixed penalty notices of £75
* Refer offenders to magistrates if they refuse to pay (where fines could be upto £1,000)
* Challenge people allowing their pets to roam or foul certain areas where dogs are excluded
The new orders cover vast swathes of council land including 51 children’s play areas across South Lakeland, 20 sports pitches and nine cemeteries, among others.
One of the more complex new rules is the Dogs On Leads Order.
It applies to ‘all land in the district within 10 metres of a public highway where there is a speed limit of 30mph or under.
It covers ‘roads, carriageways, footpaths, footways, alleyways, yards and verges’.
It means dogs would not be allowed off the lead on promenades like Arnside, Ambleside or Bowness - although Grange Promenade is excluded.
However, the authority has conceded it faces a major headache in communicating the orders to the public and explaining where the rules apply.
Coun David Williams, leader of the Conservative opposition, said: ‘The orders are so complex that the public will find difficulty in understanding them.'
Fellow Conservative Coun John Holmes said SLDC needed to commit to explaining the new rules in ‘plain English’.
Council leader Peter Thornton said the council would ‘not have an army of dog catchers’ and the law-abiding majority had little to fear.
“The few that don’t will find they are targeted,’ said Coun Thornton who said the authority would act on intelligence received from the public and use it to crackdown on certain hot spots.
‘We will send someone there, they will watch that area and prosecutions will ultimately ensue,’ warned Coun Thornton.
The authority will spend £15,000 on new signage and says the changes will be communicated through newspaper adverts, publicity and online information.
Coun Sue Sanderson, who presented the report, said following the consultation the authority had made amendments to the orders to accommodate some concerns.
‘There has been a great concern about this issue from the public and that is where this has come from. This really does address issues with irresponsible dog owners'.
Not date has yet been set for when the orders will be implemented and advance notice of their introduction has to be given first.
For more information on the orders and areas, visit: http://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/dog-fouling/dog-control-order-maps.aspx