Date set for consultation over controversial dogs in parks plans

Reader's pic for dogs in parks story: Poppy the Irish Setter and Sindy the Jack Russell cross-terrier off their leads relaxing in a park
Reader's pic for dogs in parks story: Poppy the Irish Setter and Sindy the Jack Russell cross-terrier off their leads relaxing in a park
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DATES have now been revealed for the public consultation on controversial plans to introduce new dog controls across Calderdale.

This will begin on October 3 and run until November 4, council chiefs have announced.

A complete dog ban is proposed for 120 sports pitches and playing fields, more than 120 play areas, 19 bowling greens, 33 tennis courts and 30 ornamental gardens.

Despite the proposals, the council insists that animals could still be let off the lead in parks.

But last night it was unable to tell the Courier exactly what areas in the parks - because no decisions have yet been made.

Because some parks comprise of little more than playing fields and playgrounds, there are concerns that these will become ‘no go areas’ for dog walkers.

Byelaws already ban the animals from six recreation grounds and playgrounds.

Calderdale Council’s economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins said: “Under the new orders, dog owners will still be able to exercise dogs off the lead be excluded from children’s play areas.

“The council is keen to listen to all views before making any decisions, particularly on how best to balance the exercising of dogs with keeping sports pitches free of fouling,” he said.

There has been a huge outcry since it was announced that the council was looking at introducing five separate Dog Control Orders.

If the “Dogs on Lead by Direction Order” is approved, up to 55 council officers will be authorised to tell owners to put their pets on a lead in parks and on footpaths “if such restraint is reasonably necessary to prevent a nuisance or behaviour by the dog likely to cause annoyance or disturbance” to people, other animals and birds.

As well as parks and all public rights of way, owners could be asked to put their dogs on leads alongside all roads, in eight nature reserves, and 24 sites of special scientific, ecological or geological interest.

Under the “Dogs on Lead Order”, pets must be on leads in car parks, on canal towpaths, in cemeteries, and 36 council allotments as well as alongside high speed roads.

Another order would prevent people walking more than six dogs in five specific areas, including Halifax beautyspot Ogden Water and Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge.

And owners would be required to clean-up after their pets on any land, except moorland and woodland.

As well as circulating questionnaires, the council intends to talk about the proposals to 30 organisations including The Kennel Club, the RSPCA, the National Farmers Union, Keep Britain Tidy, Dogs for the Disabled, Yorkshire Water, the police, town and parish councils.

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