As you may or may not be aware the Council has recently consulted on introducing Dog Control orders and a report was recently taken to the Council’s Executive Board, recommending the following:
The Project Board originally timetabled the project for delivery in 2011/12 given the potential scope and impact of some of the orders and the need for extensive public consultation. Following a request by Scrutiny Board for a quicker outcome, it was agreed that Dog Control Orders could be implemented via a two stage process in order to facilitate early delivery of some aspects of the project. Phase 1 of the project includes the following proposals:-
Dog Specified Maximum – The Council is proposing to limit the number of dogs walked by an individual to 6. Dog walking in numbers of this kind is normally done by commercial dog walking companies. This proposal is to ensure that dog walkers have full control of the dogs they walk and ensure they can pick up any faeces. This order would apply to all of the city. The National Association of Registered Petsitters (NARP) guidelines recommend a limit of four dogs. The DEFRA national guidance advises six dogs.
Dog on Leads By Direction Order – This order will allow authorised Council staff to more effectively deal with complaints about dogs which are not being kept under proper control. Such an order will be underpinned by staff guidance stipulating the circumstances when a direction would be given, for example if a dog was causing a nuisance or annoyance. This order would apply to all of the city.
Dog Exclusion Orders- This order would allow the Council to legally exclude dogs from prescribed areas. In phase one, these areas are designated identifiable children’s play areas in parks. Such an Order would reduce dog fouling and nuisance in these areas and they would have significant impact if approved. The areas in the Adel & Wharfedale Ward that are covered by the Exclusion Zone in phase 1 are the Holt Lane playground and the Cookridge Lane playground. Further areas will potentially be added in future phases once the effectiveness of Phase 1 has been evaluated.
All of these orders are enforceable in the following way- the order creates an offence which is prosecuted through the magistrates courts, with a maximum fine of £1000. There is an opportunity to discharge the offence through payment of a fixed penalty notice (FPN) to the Council. In the majority of circumstances, the fixed penalty will always be offered as a first option. Whilst there is no appeal against an FPN, the Services does receive and respond to written enquiries as if they were appeals. The enforcement of these orders will be carried out by staff that are authorised appropriately by the council and if possible, staff employed by secondary authorities.
The Scrutiny Board that I chair has recommended that the Executive Board reconsider the maximum number of dogs that can be walked at any one time be reduced to 4. The final decision on this is awaited.