The proposal for Dog Control Orders in Calderdale has caused much concern amongst local dog owners. I attended the Cabinet meeting where this matter was explained.
Cllr Barry Collins spoke eloquently on the subject and reassured those present that it was not the Council’s intention to ban dogs from parks and public areas, just some such as children’s playgrounds, sports fields etc.
If a Council wishes to make a Dog Control Order there are certain procedures that legislation dictates must be carried out.
DEFRA states that:
Before making a dog control order under section 55 of the Act, an Authority shall—
(a) consult upon its proposal to make the order by publishing a notice of that proposal in a local newspaper circulating in the area in which the land in respect of which the order would apply is situated;
a) identify the land in respect of which the order is to apply, and, if any of the land is access land, state that this is the case;
Those notices were published in the Halifax Courier on Friday 14th Oct and quite clearly stated
“It is proposed that the Order shall relate to areas of land within the borough of Calderdale Council which are open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access either with or without payment, excepting Forestry Commission Land” This means one of two things, either the Council are intending to include ALL land within the borough of Calderdale or they have not complied with legislation requirements by failing to identify which land will be subject to the control orders.
When one takes the time to study the information relating to DCO’s there are many conflicting statements, are they genuine mistakes or an intent to mislead? Cllr Barry Collins in a recent press release stated that the Council received 300 complaints a year regarding dangerous dogs, the real figure is in the low 50’s.
Information sought by a member of Calderdale Dog Walkers Forum (Freedom of Information) show that in a four-year period (2008-2011) there were 1,194 fixed penalty notices issued in respect of litter. In that same four year period only 37 FPN’s issued for dog fouling, an average of 9.25 per year. Is dog fouling as bigger issue as the Council would have us believe?