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Have your say on proposed dog control orders

Wirral Council is launching a consultation to ask residents their views on proposals to introduce new rules that would tackle problems caused by a minority of dog owners in public areas.  

A proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) would give the council and other delegated enforcement partners greater powers to regulate the control of dogs in public spaces in Wirral - in particular leisure areas that attract a large number of visitors.

The additional powers under consideration include requiring dog walkers to have bags on them to clean up their dog’s mess and to keep their dogs on a lead in certain areas, such as cemeteries.

The consultation also asks residents their views on creating some small seasonal ‘dog free zones’ in certain locations such as sports pitches, children’s playgrounds and small sections of Wirral’s bathing beaches. 

The proposed changes - if implemented - will create cleaner, safer and more attractive public spaces for all residents and visitors. 

Cllr Matthew Patrick, Cabinet member for Environment, said: “Wirral is a beautiful place to live and work, but we know from listening to residents that a small minority aren’t playing their part in helping keep it that way. 

“Our proposals will make Wirral a nicer place for all families. Wirral has acres of beautiful beaches; there is more than enough room for dogs and families to enjoy. 

“I am pleased that these proposals have been developed following discussions with local groups, looking at the main dog-related issues locally and drawing on best practice from areas that have already introduced controls.” 

A PSPO is an enforceable part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014) designed to protect residents from any persistent, unreasonable behaviour that could have a negative impact on their quality of life and those in their area. 

Breaching the terms of a PSPO is a criminal offence and can be dealt with through the issuing of a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to discharge the offender’s liability for the offence, or a fine of up to £1,000 on prosecution.

Cllr Paul Stuart, Cabinet member for Law and Order, added: “While it is clearly a small minority of dog owners who behave irresponsibly, the nature of their actions means they have a disproportionately negative effect on other people’s enjoyment of Wirral’s attractions and open spaces.

“Introducing a PSPO would give us much more bite when it comes to tackling those who don’t take responsibility and control of their dogs when they are out in public. I hope as many people as possible share their views on the proposals during this consultation period.” 

The new controls that have been proposed as part of the Wirral PSPO are:- 

  • Dog walkers to carry bags or other appropriate means for removing and cleaning up after their dog has fouled at all times
  • Restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by a single individual to 6, on and off the lead
  • Prohibit dogs (excluding assistance dogs) from entering a number of clearly defined and small areas
  • Require dogs to be kept on a lead in a number of defined areas
  • Dogs on Leads by Direction (including Definition of a Lead)
  • Offence of failing to comply with the PSPO

The order also lists a number of exemptions to the controls, which include any registered blind person in a register compiled under section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1949 and any person with a disability who relies upon a dog trained by a prescribed charity to provide them with assistance. 

Click here for full details of the scope of the proposed Public Space Protection Order and how people can take part in the consultation process. The consultation period runs until 15th July 2018.