Proposed rules on dogs in public places revealed in Dorset Council papers

PROPOSED restrictions on dogs in public places – including a maximum lead length of 2m and a standardised beach ban – have been revealed.

New plans, in response to a consultation over rules governing dog walkers at public sites in the Dorset Council area, have been detailed in papers ahead of a meeting next week.

The document, which will go before members of the Place and Resources Overview Committee on October 5, breaks down recommendations for the Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the county.

Recommendations include:
* A blanket, standardised ban on dogs on beaches, running from May 1 to September 30
* A maximum lead length of two metres where leads are required
* Dogs to be kept on leads in public spaces such as cemeteries, church and graveyards, as well as public formal gardens and council-owned allotments, car parks and within five metres of sports pitches.
* Dogs to be excluded from recreation areas, including skate parks, tennis and basketball courts, bowling and putting greens, enclosed play parks, sporting or recreational facilities and athletics tracks.
* Dogs banned from marked sports pitches.
* A ban on dogs off leads during winter in Lyme Regis will also not be part of the proposed order.

The officer-produced report said: “The new PSPO may require changes to existing signage.

“The cost of changes and replacement of routine signage will be met from the existing budget.”

It said the proposals related to human public heath and dog welfare, although some restrictions may lead dog owners to travel further to exercise their dogs.

“Keeping public spaces free from dog fouling is a high priority for our residents, as is the safe use of parks and open spaces by all,” it went on.

“Dog fouling is unpleasant and can spread disease. Having adequate control over a dog by placing it on a lead helps ensure the owners can see if the dog fouls and ensure the dog is under the owner’s control.

READ MORE: Have your say over dog orders in Dorset public spaces

“Dogs not under the owner’s control can cause injury to people and other animals and be a public hazard.”

The council said more than 4,200 responses were received during the 10-week consultation over the order – 80% from residents, 16.5% from visitors and 2.8% from others.

Dog owners provided 62% of responses, while 9.5% of respondents considered themselves as having a disability.

Cllr Laura Beddow, portfolio holder for customer and community services at the council, said: “We have had an excellent response to this consultation. It is important that we have the views of a good cross section of the community that is affected by this order.”

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