The eight new rules dog walkers in Devon need to know or face a £100 fine

Dog owners could be set for £100 on-the-spot fines if they are walk more than four dogs at one time.

Eight new controls are set to be brought into force in Teignbridge from April 1, 2019, with £100 on-the-spot fines to be issued to offenders.

Seven of the controls in the public space protection order have been agreed – six at the Teignbridge District Council executive meeting in October and bringing the summer dog beach ban forward to April 1 was agreed at December’s executive meeting following a call-in of the initial decision.

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Councillors on the executive then also agreed to restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by a single individual on or off the lead to four, but that decision has been called-in for further scrutiny, with councillors instead calling for the limit to be six.

A dog on a lead walking on a beach
A dog on a lead walking on a beach

The full council meeting on January 14 will consider the call-in and also be asked to approve and implement that full PSPO. It will be the fourth meeting of the council where the dog control PSPO will be discussed.

The reason given for the call-in is to examine the decision to have only four as the maximum number of dogs on a lead in the light of the decision by East Devon District Council, the comments from the Kennel Club, the Dogs Trust and the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals and numerous disparaging comments from dog walkers across the Teignbridge District.

East Devon District Council’s recently introduced PSPO has a limit of six dogs that can be walked and the Kennel Club says that that an arbitrary maximum number of dogs a person can walk is an inappropriate approach to dog control but note DEFRA guidance that says the maximum number of dogs that can be controlled is six.

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David Eaton, environmental protection manager, had previously said: “The order is required to effectively tackle irresponsible dog ownership within the Teignbridge District.

The aim is not to penalise responsible dog owners but to target persistent offenders who refuse to comply with the proposed controls. Consideration will be given to the ability of the owner to exercise control over the dogs before taking enforcement action.

“A person observed not to be complying with the PSPO is liable to receive a fixed penalty notice. We are recommending that the fine is set at £100. Officers also have powers to issue Community Protection Notices or prosecute if the offence warrants the sanction.”

The new rules

The proposed PSPO would contain eight controls. They are:

FOULING – making it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to pick up its faeces straight away.

MEANS TO PICK UP – making it an offence if a person in charge of a dog does not carry a bag or other means of clearing up after their dog at all times.

DOG EXCLUSION AREAS (EXCEPT BEACHES) – making it an offence for a person in charge of a dog, to let a dog be in dog ban area (e.g. Children’s play park).

SEASONAL DOG EXCLUSION AREAS (BEACHES) – an offence for a person in charge of a do between April 1 and September 30, to take the dog onto, or permit the dog to enter or to remain on, any beach designated as a dog ban area. The beaches are Dawlish Warren, Dawlish Town, Dawlish Coryton Cove, Teignmouth Town and Shaldon.

DOGS ON LEAD AREAS – an offence if a person in charge of a dog at any time does not keep the dog on a lead on land designated as a dog on lead area.

DOG(S) ON LEAD ON THE HIGHWAY – an offence if, at any time, a person in charge of a dog does not keep the dog on a lead, whilst on a road or footpaths adjacent to a road.

DOG(S) ON LEAD BY DIRECTION – an offence if at any time within a dog ban area, a person in charge of a dog does not comply with a direction given to him by an authorised officer of the council or police officer to put and keep the dog on a lead.

RESTRICITION ON THE NUMBER OF DOGS – restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by a single individual on or off the lead to four.

Anyone breaching any of the eight controls are liable for £100 on-the-spot fines, following the April 1, 2019, implementation date.

The PSPO would initially last for three years, but could be varied or discharged by the council during that period.

Teignbridge District Council’s full council will make a final decision on the PSPO when it meets on Monday, January 14.

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