Crackdown on canines

DOGS look set to be banned from school fields and play areas in a controversial crackdown by councillors.

Thursday, 2nd February 2012, 1:38 pm

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet this week agreed to push ahead with plans to tighten the rules on dog-walkers.

The tough new laws will also mean owners could be asked to put dogs on leads in the district’s five main parks – including Wilton and Crow Nest in Dewsbury. Those who flout the orders face fines of up to £1,000.

Even dog-loving members of the Cabinet backed the move at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council deputy leader David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said the plans were ‘a reasonable way forward’.

And the tough stance will delight the many people who have been calling for action, including Mark Lockwood of Birstall Victoria RLFC.

He says that before every game and training session the club has at White Lee School, officials have to inspect the field with a bucket and shovel.

“A player once fell in a pile of dog mess and had to be taken off the field to be cleaned up,” he said. “It is disgusting.”

Councillors were told that dog fouling and other problems are high among concerns raised in resident satisfaction surveys and seen as a key issue people want to see tackled.

In 2009/10 there were 2,188 complaints about dog fouling and 2,942 in 2010/11. There were also 977 and 946 dangerous dog complaints.

Offences covered by the proposed dog control orders include failure to clear dog fouling with exclusions for such as moorland and agricultural land; dogs to be on leads at all times on all roads and council car parks plus designated areas such as playing fields, allotments and council-maintained cemeteries; power to request dogs to be on a lead in the five main parks if the dog is unruly; and dog exclusion areas such as children’s play areas and school grounds.

Each order carries a maximum penalty of £1,000 but offences can be discharged through a fixed penalty of £75, or £50 if paid within seven days.

A 28-day public consultation on the orders will now be held.