Dogs could be banned from playing fields, must be kept on a lead and picked up after they foul as part of new measures to deal with dog mess problems in Teignbridge.
People in Teignbridge are invited to have their say on proposals to introduce a Public Space Protection Order across the district to help deal with dog mess problems.
A consultation launched last week is asking people to put forward their views on a proposed PSPO which, if approved, will help make the enforcement process simpler and give council staff the power to issue on-the-spot fines to irresponsible dog owners.
It follows a call made last year by Cllr Chris Clarance that he would be in favour of legislation banning dogs from all playing fields when the council was discussing a review of the Teignbridge dog fouling policy.
Teignbridge’s Council Strategy ‘Clean Scene’ project, promised to review the approach to how dog fouling is dealt with and the authority is doing just that, a council spokesman said.
The PSPO updates the existing byelaws for beaches, some parks and public open spaces into offences which can be enforced using fixed penalty notices.
Inconsiderate dog owners would still be targeted through awareness and enforcement.
The order also looks at including:
• The requirement for dog walkers to carry a bag or other means of cleaning up after their dog has fouled at all times.
• The prohibition of dogs from entering defined dog ban areas (e.g. children’s play park excluding assistance dogs).
• The requirement for dogs to be kept on leads next to roads.
• For authorised officers to have the power to immediately request dogs are placed on a lead.
• To restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by a single individual, on and off the lead.
Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive member for Health and Wellbeing which includes the portfolio for Environmental Health, said
: “We play an important role in promoting and encouraging responsible dog ownership in Teignbridge. Fortunately, many people pick up after their pet and help us to keep areas free from dog mess but sadly there are still some who don’t.
“Dog mess is unsightly, unhygienic and can have unpleasant health effects particularly for small children. It costs public money to clear up so in effect, our many law-abiding citizens end up paying for something that the few tend to ignore.
“This is an important opportunity to improve controls based on what people have been telling us. We want to know if you agree with what we are proposing, so please get involved.”
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A Teignbridge Council spokesman added: “While there are laws covering dog fouling and irresponsible dog ownership, it is patchy and in some places Teignbridge has no control over enforcement. This inconsistency makes enforcement much harder in those particular places where people tell us it is a problem.
“Currently in Teignbridge, byelaws which apply to some council-owned parks, green spaces and beaches cannot be enforced using fixed penalty notices – offences must be prosecuted through the courts, a procedure which is rarely used and can be costly.
“This is frustrating for Teignbridge, the many responsible dog owners, residents and visitors, and adds up in terms of council time and taxpayers’ money to deal with it.
“Observations by the Teignbridge teams, ranging from Community Wardens, Resorts staff and Countryside Rangers, who meet and speak with the public every day, also highlight concerns about the effectiveness of some existing controls.”
At a council meeting last year, Cllr Clarance said: “In Shaldon we have a particular problem in which we could do better. There is a lot of dog mess on the sports fields where sportsmen have to check the field and make sure it is clear before they play any games.”
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After the meeting, he said: “I feel this is the road that we should go down. We can’t continue to have dog mess ruining rugby and soccer fields. In the village we have been fairly successful and proactive as a parish council in tackling the issue of dog fouling, but this doesn’t seem to be happening on the playing fields.”
There are already bylaws that exist that ban dogs from playing fields in Teignbridge but Cllr Clarance was calling for an area wide ban.
Teignbridge Council wants to hear your views on the changes proposed. You can do this by completing the online survey at teignbridge.gov.uk/dogsurvey
The survey ends on Friday, September 29.
The results of the consultation will be taken into consideration when structuring the PSPO and it will then go before councillors for consideration and approval.