Update 18 October. The council’s cabinet voted to consult on banning dogs from pooing in public along with the rest of the measure.
Difficult dogs off a lead and dog fouling are persistent problems. Dog fouling is a particular issue at this time of year with the dark nights. Shropshire Council is planning to crack down on this anti-social behaviour. The council is planning to apply for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering the entire county. This extends a current order and provides for better enforcement. This is a welcome move though those that walk their dog off lead many not be so happy.
The draconian part of the proposed order is that it will prohibit dog fouling in a public space. So even if dog owners clear the mess up, they could be fined for allowing their dog to poop in public. This proposal is obviously unworkable.
Shropshire Council is being overzealous. If it bans dogs fom defecating in public saces, it will be a defacto ban on most dogs going outside, unless they wear nappies.
If the prohibition is a mistake, it should have been spotted before the cabinet papers were published. And if it is a mistake, it adds to the crumbling reputation of Shropshire Council coming so soon after the council made a £77 million error its financial estimate for the cost of the North West Relief Road.
The PSPO will apply to any place to which the public has access, whether by payment or for free, including parks, open spaces and footpaths. It will cover open land that is used with permission or implied permission, for example a field that is regularly used for dog walking without objection from the owner.
It will apply to roads and pathways, where owners will be obliged to keep their dog on a lead. I have mixed feeling about that. Many people don’t have their dogs on a lead in Ludlow and it is only a few that have unleased dogs that should be controlled by a lead. But it would be simpler to enforce if all dogs have to be on a lead on a public highway.
The Public Space Protection Order will:
- prohibit dog fouling
- prohibit non-collection and disposal of dog waste by dog owners
- prohibit dogs from being off lead on the highway
- exclude dogs from equipped play areas and fenced sports areas
- give powers to officers to direct owners to put their dogs on leads in public areas if they are creating a nuisance or safety concern.
The order can be enforced by police officers, police community support officers, authorised council officers and by employees of other delegated organisations. They will be able to issue of Fixed Penalty Notices of up to £100 for each offence committed. If the owner is taken to court by Shropshire Council, the fine could be up to £1,000.
These proposals are an update and significant extension of powers granted in 2013.
The proposals are to be discussed by Shropshire Council’s cabinet on 18 October. Consultation on the proposals will be launched on 23 October.
I have posters and ties available if anyone wishes to put them on lampposts in their area of Ludlow.