Group ready to unleash new dog rules protest

Dog walkers met to show their opposition to controversial new public space protection orders (PSPOs) planned in Fylde

Dog walkers met to show their opposition to controversial new public space protection orders (PSPOs) planned in Fylde

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Pet owners objecting to proposed changes to dog control in Fylde are gearing up for a second protest walk.

Hundreds packed Lytham Green last month to make stand against Fylde Council introducing Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO), which would require dogs to be kept on leads on all public highways and exclude them from various other locations, including children’s playgrounds.

The new orders are currently the subject of a public consultation which runs until January 15 and if they come into effect, failure to comply could see rule-breakers given a £100 fixed penalty notice, which would reduce to £50 if it is paid off within seven days.

Members of the Fylde Responsible Dog Owners group, who quickly attracted more than 1,000 followers to a Facebook page opposing the proposed PSPOs and were delighted with the turnout at the last protest walk, will stage the follow-up on seafront land close to Fairhaven Road car park, St Annes, on Sunday, January 8 from noon to 1pm.

Group spokesman Ann DeRizzio felt the support for the last walk was a very clear statement about the strength of feeling about this matter.

She said: “Nobody likes to see a dog misbehaving or an owner not picking up after it, especially responsible owners - it drives us crackers. But why punish the vast majority of good owners for the sake of a few bad ones?

“Legislation to punish offenders already exists. There are fines and orders for fouling and bad behaviour but the council has not and does not enforce it.

“We would support any measures that might work but these will not stop fouling by irresponsible owners. All they will do is alienate the residents.”

Among the proposals are borough-wide PSPOs which require dogs to be kept on leads on all public highways at all times, as covered currently by by-laws. The same requirement is proposed for council car parks and Lytham Cemetery, along with various parks across the borough.

Other proposals include PSPOs to cover dog fouling, to limit the number of dogs under the control of one person to a maximum of four and require dogs to be kept on leads and exclude dogs at locations including children’s playgrounds.

Organisers of Sunday’s walk ask dog owners to keep their pets on leads at all times and are reminded not to forget to bring dog waste bags.

Coun David Eaves, chairman of Fylde Council’s operational management committee, said: “Fylde Council is the only district council on the Fylde coast that does not have Public Space Protection Orders in place. All members of the public are invited to voice their comments and opinions within the consultation. These will all be take into consideration and a full report later presented to full council.”

People can have their say up to January 15 online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/fyldedogcontrol.