DOG owners who feel persecuted by plans to ban their pets from playgrounds and sports pitches in Calderdale have been offered the possibility of “dog toilets.”
Council environment spokesman Barry Collins – himself a dog owner – said: “We might look at setting up separate areas in some parks for dog walking and exercising.”
About a dozen dog lovers lobbied Monday’s Calderdale Council cabinet meeting in response to Courier reports of a clampdown on irresponsible owners.
Members of the Kennel Club said they went to great lengths to encourage members to clean up after their pets and keep them under control in public.
They called for more bins in parks to dispose of animal waste.
Coun Collins said there was never any intention to stop people exercising their dogs, providing they did it responsibly.
“Dog fouling in some parks is a big issue and we need to deal with it, even if responsible owners feel they are being penalised.
“We are looking to ban dogs from playgrounds and sports pitches for health reasons and for dogs to be on leads on footpaths, close to highways, in car parks, cemeteries and allotments.”
Councillors agreed to begin a round of public consultation on proposals to ban dogs from sports pitches and play areas, to compel pets to be on a lead on footpaths, in car parks and other public areas and to force owners to clean up after their pets.
Councillor Marcus Thompson (Con, Skircoat) accused the council of “persecuting” owners.
“The inability to exercise dogs is cruel and if people have to travel further afield to find suitable space there will be more cars on the road,” he said.
But Coun Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said: “We might need to look at setting up separate areas in some parks for dog walking and exercising.”
Councillor Keith Hutson (Lib-Dem, Warley) said he could not see any harm in seeking people’s opinions about what measures might work best in different areas.
Council leader Janet Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder) said the consultation would be thorough with questionnaires and details made widely available and specific meetings with 20 or more organisations including the RSPCA and sports groups, before any changes were introduced.