New powers to tackle irresponsible dog owners in Mansfield

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New Dog Control Orders will come into force next month after Mansfield District Council strengthened its powers to tackle irresponsible dog owners.

Following a public consultation, the Council decided to introduce three new orders which come into effect on 1 December.

The regulations include an increase for 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 is also an offence to allow dogs to enter children’s play areas, sports arenas and cemeteries 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.

New signage will be placed on parks, open spaces and cemeteries to notify dog owners of the new regulations.

Coun 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 new orders 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.

To report dog fouling in the Mansfield District call 01623 463 463.