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Comment: Why the council wants to introduce dog control orders
4:54pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Opinion
Why is South Lakeland District Council proposing to make dog control orders? It’s a reasonable question with a simple answer: Because we care about South Lakeland and want to make its environment pleasant for everyone.
I love going for walks in the beautiful scenery that surrounds us. But I am sure I am not alone in having the misfortune of either seeing dog waste on our paths and in our parks or dogs running free where control by the owner should be in place.
As an authority, South Lakeland District Council doesn’t like to use its powers to penalise people who are going about their day to day business.
We would rather people use their common sense and think of others in cleaning up the mess left by their dogs or keep them under control where they could cause a nuisance.
Unfortunately that is not the case and we have put into place four dog control orders, which we believe will enforce the message that this behaviour is unfair on others and must be stopped.
It should be remembered that the orders we have put out for final representation are those that the public asked us to put in place following a lengthy and extensive consultation last year.
The orders we are hoping to put into place following any comments from the public are:
- Fouling of Land, which would make it an offence for any person who doesn’t clean up after their dog on land where this order applies.
- A Dog on Leads by Direction Order, making it an offence for any person not complying with an instruction by an authorised officer of SLDC to put and keep a dog on a lead of not more than four metres.
- The Dogs on Lead Order would make it an offence for any person in charge of a dog to fail to keep that dog on a lead of up to four metres on land where the order applies.
- The final one is the Dogs Exclusion Order and would make it an offence for any person in charge of a dog to take the animal on to, or permit it to enter or remain on, any land to which the order relates (at any time). These are children’s play areas and sport pitches.
The order that appears to be causing most concern is the failure to keep a dog on a lead of up four metres if told to do so by an authorised officer of SLDC. The purpose of this order is to keep dogs under control in specific areas.
For example if they are loose near a playing field or bothering children by jumping up at them.
This is where this order comes into effect in providing a way to get the owner to control the dog.
I am sure most would agree that a dog bothering children or ruining a sports match without a form of control being available is not what people want!!
The dog control orders are also part of a Clean Streets campaign by SLDC, which includes adopting a bylaw to stop people going to the toilet in public places.
It is a bylaw that has been requested by the police and which we hope to have in place by October.
Believe me these are not items of council business I want to spend time on unnecessarily! They are important to our communities and as a councillor I respond to what residents tell me they want. I want South Lakeland to be a place that everyone can enjoy without fear of putting their foot in it!
To view the orders or make comments on them please visit www.southlakeland.gov.uk
Coun Clare Feeney-Johnson, environment and sustainability portfolio holder for South Lakeland District Council