It’s not a war on dog owners

Avril Fletcher in Totley walking her dog Oscar

Avril Fletcher in Totley walking her dog Oscar

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Have your say

Calderdale Council has answered questions regarding its proposed changes over dogs in public places.

Among the plans are that dogs will be banned from sports pitches, pets must wear leads if causing a nuisance and owners must clear up their mess, no matter where.

Here are some of the questions asked.

Will you consider every written comment submitted during the consultation process?

Yes. The council welcomes residents and businesses in the area to submit their comments, in writing, as part of this consultation process.

You may wish to have one or more of the orders for an area of land which the council has not considered or you may know of a problem in your area which you feel could be resolved by the introduction of an order.

Conversely, you may wish to object to one or more of the Dog Control Orders for an area of land you go to.

Can I have a hard copy of what you are proposing?

Yes. These can be viewed at civic amenity buildings. For details please phone Customer First on 0845 245 6000 or e-mail dogcontrolorders@calderdale.gov.uk

I know someone who would like to participate but they do not have access to the Internet. How can they comment?

They may either go into their local library which has Internet facility, or they could phone Customer First on 0845 245 6000 for more information.

Has the council decided which orders will be introduced?

No. It all depends on the outcome and analysis of the results of the consultation period. The council will consider the outcome of this consultation exercise prior to making any decisions in relation to the introduction of any of the five orders.

How will the decision be made about which orders to introduce?

The decision will be taken by the cabinet. Further details will follow. No decisions will be taken until the consultation period has expired.

When do you intend to introduce these orders?

If the approved by Cabinet, the aim is for them to become enforceable next year.

How will I know if I am in an area covered by an order?

The council will erect at least one sign at the boundary of every site.

The council’s website will also provide further detail. Authorised Officers may patrol the area of land subject to the Order, and you may be approached directly by them.

What would happen if I was to commit an offence under one of the orders?

A fine not exceeding £1,000. Alternatively, a fixed penalty of £80, reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.

For young teenagerss there may be an opportunity to make things right by undertaking some reparative work with the Youth Offending Team which may mean the juvenile will not have to pay the fixed penalty.

Will you withdraw a fixed penalty notice or not prosecute me if I didn’t see the sign or didn’t know I was in an area covered by a dog control order?

No. Ignorance is no defence. The council will actively publicise on the council’s website which orders are to be introduced, and the areas will be adequately signed.

Does the council intend to ban dogs from open spaces like, for example, parks and recreation grounds?

No. The council proposes that dogs should only be excluded from children’s play areas, sports pitches and other ‘high-risk’ areas but not the park itself.

It is proposed that dogs in parks may be subject to the ‘Dogs on Leads by Direction’ dog control order if the dog is causing a nuisance. It is also proposed that dogs may be excluded from specific areas within a park, for example, if there are any sports pitches, children’s play areas, or ornamental gardens.

Will the council require dogs to be kept on a lead in parks and recreation grounds at all times?

No. The council proposes that dogs in these areas should only be put and kept on a lead if they are causing a nuisance to other users of the park.

Can my dog be exercised on a marked sports pitch if the dog exclusion order is introduced?

No. The council’s view is that dogs should not be allowed onto marked sports pitches at any time.

Is there a possibility of allowing my dog to enter exclusion areas either outside of the sports or bird-nesting seasons or at times when matches are not occurring?

No. The council takes the view that excluding dogs at all times will prevent or reduce the likelihood of a land user coming into contact with dog poo, and from aggressive dog incidents.

Does the council intend to re-introduce dog toilet areas or dog exercise areas to the borough?

No. There used to be some dog toilet areas in the borough, but the last one closed a couple of years ago.

The council encourages people to pick up their dog’s poo rather than leave it on the ground.

When the council provided ‘toilet areas,’ dog walkers still failed to remove poo from the area, contrary to the council’s aim. The council also needs to protect the welfare of employees who had to clear the toilet area.

I am disabled. Have you thought about me?

Yes, of course. People with assistance dogs from one of the registered charities will not be subject to the exclusion dog control order.

Registered blind persons will not be subject to the dog fouling Dog Control Order, but everybody else with a disability could be. If you think your disability means that you may be affected please submit your comments.

How am I supposed to dispose of dog poo if there are no dog waste bins nearby?

Bag it, and then either place it into the nearest street litter bin, or take it home and put it in your grey wheelie bin or black sack.

Are you picking on dog owners?

No. The council strongly believes in responsible dog ownership.

Are orders being introduced so the council can increase its income?

No. Enforcement of the fixed penalty regime does generate some income but it does not cover the costs of staff employed in this area.