New dog control rules for West Devon agreed that can see owners fined £100

    Dog Fouling

    West Devon Borough Council on Tuesday afternoon overwhelmingly backed the new Public Space Protection Order for dog control across the district that will come into effect immediately covering Dartmoor, Chagford, Okehampton, Princetown, and Tavistock.

    New controls to make dog owners across West Devon more responsible have been agreed.

    West Devon Borough Council on Tuesday afternoon overwhelmingly backed the new Public Space Protection Order for dog control across the district that will come into effect immediately.
    The new borough wide provisions introduce four requirements for dog owners that if found in breach of them, they can be issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice.
    The PSPO replaces a previous dog control order in the district that expired in October 2020 and will be imposed to crack down on anti-social behaviour in areas used by the local community.
    The Order will introduce the following Borough-wide provisions that require dog walkers to:

    carry the means to pick up and to pick up after their dogs
    keep dogs on leads on land designated as a Dogs on Lead Area and on roads with speed zones up to 30mph;
    comply to put and keep dogs on leads if so directed (by an authorised officer); and prevent dogs from accessing a dog exclusion zone.

    The restrictions that require dog walkers to carry bags at all times to collect their dog’s waste; and for dogs to be kept on leads on roads within 30mph speed zones are newly introduced, but a third new proposed control, to limit dog walkers to walking four dogs at any one time, was dropped during the consultation stage.
    It means that dogs will be excluded from areas such as enclosed children’s play areas, bowling greens, tennis courts, skateboard or BMX parks, putting greens and, sports or recreation facility pitches, and owners will have to keep dogs on leads in some areas such as on roads, in shopping areas, car parks, cemeteries and churchyards, nature reserves, formal gardens, and where organised sport is being played.
    The report of Honey Foskett, senior specialist environmental health, which went before Tuesday’s full council meeting, said: “The Public Space Protection Order will provide the Localities Team with a uniform set of standards across the Borough that will make enforcement straightforward.
    “This will have a positive impact, giving West Devon’s communities assurance that there is a robust mechanism in place to address dog related anti-social behaviour on lands within the Borough accessible to the public.”
    She added that Dartmoor National Park guidance for dog walkers is that owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of the waste responsibly and that they are acutely aware of the littering issue caused by poo bags being left by visitors and their wider messaging to the public regarding litter is to take it home or find a bin.
    “Dartmoor are not comfortable with the idea of ‘stick and flick’ dog poo to the side of the path because of the risk of disease that can be passed on to both cattle and sheep from dog faeces causing fatalities in grazing livestock,” she added.
    “For consistency and a simple, clear message the Dartmoor National Park stance is to ask dog walkers to pick up after your dog wherever you are in the national park.”
    Cllr Neil Jory, leader of the council, said that a lot of discussion has been held over the plans, but ‘it is clearly important that we are in step with the National Park and we do have a policy to enforce if the need to do so arises’.
    Cllr Steve Hipsey said he would reluctantly support the recommendation, adding: “I am worried about the probable effect on the freedom of the responsible dog owners who are in the majority to exercise their pets properly and whether this can be effectively enforced given the enormity of the task and the resources available, but I fully understand the need to have an order in place.”
    Councillors voted though in favour of the new Borough wide PSPO with three abstentions and no votes against.

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