Rumours of plans by Ribble Valley Borough Council to introduce measures restricting dog walkers to only certain areas of the valley’s popular parks and open spaces, and requiring dogs to be on a lead at all times, have been dismissed by Head of Environmental Health Services, Mr James Russell.
After some of our dog owner readers expressed their concern over rumoured plans to introduce dog “enclosures” in many public park areas and to insist dogs are kept on a lead at all times, we contacted the council to clarify plans that are in the pipeline.
Mr Russell said: “We issued a statement in the council’s newsletter to inform residents that new laws, compelling owners to clean up after their pets and keep them under control in public places, would be put into force by the council by the spring. The new measures are there to support responsible pet owners and are not designed, in any way, to restrict movement and exercise of dogs or curtail their enjoyment of our parks and open spaces.”
The dog control orders will see owners who do not comply presented with fixed penalty notices or face up to £1,000 in court fines.
The orders will require owners to remove dog faeces from designated public land and playing fields; to keep their pets on a lead when instructed to do so by a dog enforcement officer; and will prohibit dogs from enclosed sports pitches and children’s playgrounds at all times.
With around 6,000 dogs in the Ribble Valley, Mr Russell was keen to stress that the vast majority of dog owners are very responsible and are to be commended on their attitudes towards fouling and pet anti-social behaviour.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to take pride in the borough and keep it clean and safe,” said Mr Russell. “ Unfortunately, the minority of irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up or take control of their dogs are spoiling it for everyone else.
“The council receives hundreds of complaints each year and the new orders will enable us to deal with these offences more effectively. They will also give our enforcement officers greater powers to deal with offenders in-situ.
“Irresponsible owners will no longer be able to use ignorance as an excuse. The message is simple: The days of allowing dogs to foul in public are over, so pick up your pet mess everywhere, every time.”