Dogs could be banned from play areas and sports fields in Cheshire West and Chester

Reporter:

Steve Creswell

DOGS in the borough could soon be banned from children's play areas and sports fields.

The proposals are part of a raft of measures that may be included in a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Cheshire West and Chester.

The council is now consulting on its plans to tackle irresponsible dog owners and is inviting residents to have their say.

Other possible rules, which would land pet owners with on-the-spot-fines if breached, include:

* Dogs on leads at the request of an authorised officer

* Dogs on leads in cemeteries and the crematorium

* Restrictions on the number of dogs that dog walkers can walk at any one time

* Dog walkers to carry sufficient means to pick up their dog foul

Council bosses say they recognise that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and keep their dogs under control while they are out.

They also accept that for animal welfare reasons it is beneficial for dog owners to be able to exercise their dogs off lead in open spaces.

However, the authority has stressed that if the animals are not properly supervised and kept under control they can cause nuisance or even injury to members of the public, or other animals, and may cause road traffic accidents.

The consultation, launched yesterday (Thursday, February 1) will also ask for opinions on the possible use of DNA registration as an alternative to issuing a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and ensuring town and parish councils have the power to issue FPNs on land they own or manage.

The council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “We know that problems caused by irresponsible dog owners are felt within communities across our borough and we are committed to tackling these issues.

“There have been many changes and improvements to our borough’s parks and play areas since original Dog Control Orders and Byelaws were introduced, including new ones been created that are not covered. We have many examples where the landscape has changed and old legislation is no longer practically enforceable.

“Our proposals will help keep our children and residents safe in their communities where there could be problems with dog fouling or irresponsible dog ownership. I hope as many residents as possible give their views.”

There are a variety of ways to give views and the consultation will close on April 28: on-line at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/dogcontrolorderreview ; email dogorders@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk ; call 0300 123 8 123 ; or write to Research and Intelligence Team, Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE.

The outcome of the public consultation will be considered by council's cabinet in autumn 2018.

Email:

steve.creswell@nwn.co.uk

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