Dog owners petition council over new canine clampdown

Yoda's last day of freedom on the playing fields at Edisford? (s)
Yoda's last day of freedom on the playing fields at Edisford? (s)

A petition has been handed in to council chiefs by dog owners furious about new zero tolerance rules on dog fouling.

Clitheroe resident Julie Wroe has submitted a petition signed by more than 210 
local dog owners to Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Those who have signed this petition say the new rules regarding dog walking on the playing fields at Edisford in Clitheroe, on either side of Ribblesdale Pool, will cause problems for walkers.

“There is no other suitable open area within that distance that provides dogs to be let off the lead for a good runabout or to play with balls etc, or exercise.

“We feel it will be detrimental to the elderly and infirm, some of whom cannot walk further to allow their dogs to exercise.”

Julie and those who have signed the petition want a “reasonable area in either one or both” of the fields 
mentioned to be set aside for dog walking with a waste bin provided on site.

New orders requiring the borough’s dog owners to clean up after their pets and keep them under control in public came into force last Friday.

They mean pet owners face fixed penalty notices of £80 or fines of up to £1,000 in a magistrates’ court for anti-social pet behaviour.

Five orders have been approved by the council’s community services committee following the ongoing problem of dog mess in public places, particularly on playing fields.

The orders state that:

l Owners must remove dog faeces from public land, including footpaths and fields.

l They must keep their dogs on leads when instructed to do so by a dog enforcement officer.

l Dogs are prohibited from sports pitches, playing fields and children’s playgrounds.

l Dogs must be kept on a lead in Clitheroe Cemetery.

l No more than four dogs can be walked by a single person in designated public areas at any one time.

An online petition has also been set up by Ribble Valley resident Rachel Howarth, a dog walker and pet sitter who owns Woof-Gang Dog Walking. Addressed to Marshal Scott, the chief executive of Ribble Valley Borough Council and the Mayor of the Ribble Valley, Coun. Michael Ranson, it asks for the “ridiculous Dog Exclusion Order 2014 to be lifted”.

Almost 400 people are backing this petition.

Local resident Paul 
Stevens is also unhappy. Photographing his Labrador Yoda on Edisford playing fields on Thursday, Paul labelled the photos, the “last day before Ribble Valley Borough Council ban well behaved dogs from exercising properly in Clitheroe”.

“Never again will Yoda be allowed in these fields without the threat of fines or a criminal record,” he added.

“Yoda is a well trained, healthy and social Labrador that loves playing and running with my two sons. This has now effectively been banned in Clitheroe by RVBC.”

He argued that the fields were used for football for four hours per week and by dog walkers for 18 hours a day.

Paul said he is “a responsible dog owner” who has always cleaned up after Yoda, but was now being “directly punished” by RVBC. “This is wrong,” he added.

A spokesman for RVBC had not provided a response before we went to press.