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Council takes the lead on dog control

Mansfield District Council is stepping up its campaign to crack down on irresponsible dog owners with the introduction of three new Dog Control Orders.

The new regulations increase fixed penalty notices from £50 to £75 for dog owners who fail to remove dog mess on public land. This brings it in line with other fines already in place for offences such as littering and graffiti.

A new offence of failing to put a dog on a lead and keep it on a lead when told to do so by an authorised officer will face the same penalty of £75. Owners would be required to put their dog on a lead only if it was behaving in an unsuitable way or was not under control.

It will also be an offence to allow dogs to enter children's play areas and sports arenas which are enclosed with a boundary fence or similar. There are currently fenced play areas and sports facilities including bowling greens and tennis courts in 33 locations across the District where these orders will apply.

Cases which go to court can incur penalties of up to £1,000.

The decision to introduce the orders was taken following public consultation between August 2010 and September 2010, which showed strong support for the introduction of tighter controls on dog owners.

Councillor Mick Barton Portfolio Holder for Public Protection at Mansfield District Council said: "The consultation showed that dog fouling is a major concern to the people of Mansfield District and the Council is committed to doing all it can to help address this issue.

"The proposals do not include banning dogs from parks, nor will dogs be required to be on a lead at all times.

"We understand the need for dog walkers to exercise their dogs in public places but we have to balance that against the health risks to members of the public, particularly children who could come into contact with dog faeces while enjoying our public spaces."

Dog faeces are linked to health risks, including toxocara canis, which can cause stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and even blindness. The parasite can remain in the soil for many years, even after the dog mess has weathered away.

In line with the legislation, a further formal consultation is required now that the decision to introduce the orders has been made. Subject to no adverse representations being received, it is expected that the orders will come into force in June.

Further information will be provided via the local media and the Council website ahead of the introduction of the orders.

To report dog fouling in the Mansfield district - call 01623 463463.

Published 22 May 2012

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