Dog owners are facing new restrictions on where and how they can exercise their pets - and could be fined £100 if they defy the rules.
The council wants to increase the number of areas where dogs must be kept on leads to include Fishers Field in South Shore and the grassed areas on South Promenade.
Already on the banned list are much of Stanley Park, the Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland in Bispham, and the Marton Mere local nature reserve. Walkers could also be limited to walking a maximum of four dogs at any one time, and will be fined if they are found not to be carrying ‘poo bags’ to clean up after their pet. Only two dogs at a time would be allowed off the lead.
Coun Gillian Campbell, the authority’s deputy leader, said: “The majority of dog owners and walkers in Blackpool behave responsibly but we know from listening to residents that a small minority aren’t playing their part in helping keep it that way. “Dog mess is unpleasant which, if not picked up, can pose a health risk known as toxocariasis. “No decisions have been made as yet, so we are keen for as many people as possible to get involved in the consultation.” A consultation into the changes has been launched and will close on Tuesday, September 25. Some of the restrictions were brought in in 2012 as byelaws, with fines standing at £80.
If the plans get the go ahead, they will become Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) – and fines bumped up by £20.
Dogs will continue to be banned from places including children’s playgrounds, multi-use games areas, skate parks and BMX parks, tennis courts, ball courts, bowling greens, lakes and wetlands, bridle ways and cenotaphs. They will have to be kept on leads in areas such as roads and car parks as well as on parks and playing fields. It is proposed to add five new locations to the areas where dogs must be on leads - Fishers Field, Promenade middle walk, cabin walkway, Squires Gate tram circle and South Promenade grassed area. Dogs which are not micro-chipped will be banned from being exercised in any public place, regardless of whether they are on a lead. Highfield councillor Coun Peter Hunter, whose ward includes Fishers Field, urged people to take part in the consultation. He said: “I’m pleased Fishers Field has been included in the consultation as there are significant dog fouling problems in that field caused by a minority of dog owners. “The field is a community asset which is primarily a sports field for children. “I would welcome full community input into the consultation process.” Brian Coope, chairman of the South Shore Community Partnership which campaigns against dog fouling, said: “It’s very good the council is taking this stance but enforcement is the key. “Many people do still want to exercise their dogs off the lead, and so South Shore Community Partnership is looking to see if we can get a piece of land which could be fenced off and which people would pay to use, where they could exercise their dogs safely off the lead. “But the owners would have to clean up after their animals afterwards.” Since 2010, the council said it has had more than 12,000 dog-related inquiries. More details on the proposed rules and how to have your say can be found at www.blackpool.gov.uk/dogpspoconsultation
DOGS OFF THE LEAD WILL CONTINUE TO BE BANNED FROM:
- Public roads, car parks, and cemeteries and crematoriums;
- Bowling green peripheries, allotments, nature reservces, and ecological sites;
- The Prom between North and South Piers, all tram tracks and adjacent footways;
- Stanley Park, except south fields; - Princess Parade crazy golf;
- Gynn Flagstaff gardens;
- Jubilee Gardens;
- Highfield Park;
- Louis Horrocks Recreational Ground;
- Warbreck Recreational Ground;
- Marton Mere local nature reserve;
- Fylde Memorial Arboretum and Community Woodland;
- Bispham Library gardens;
- Central Library gardens;
- George Bancroft Park;
- Raikes Parade open space;
- South Shore Crescent (north and south) open space;
- Solaris Centre;
- Blackpool RUFC;
- Moor Park sports facilities;
- Common Edge Road playing field;
- Kingscote Park playing field
A dog walker/owner could face £100 fine for “non-compliance,” the council warned.
NEW LOCATIONS SET TO BE INCLUDED:
- Fishers Field;
- Promenade middle walk;
- Cabin walkway;
- Squires Gate tram circle;
- South Promenade grassed area
DOGS ARE BANNED COMPLETELY FROM:
- Children’s play areas;
- Multi-use games areas (MUGAs);
- Skate parks and BMX parks;
- Tennis courts;
- Ball courts;
- Bowling green sports surfaces;
- Lakes and wetlands, including Stanley Park’s lake, Marton Mere, Ashfield, Kincraig, Lawsons Road;
- Bridle-ways, including Heron’s Reach and Progress Way;
- The war memorial;
LIMITS ON DOGS BEING WALKED:
Blackpool Council said it has “received a number of complaints about individuals walking an excessive amount of dogs without being in control of them.”
Therefore, under threat of a £100 fine, it wants to limit dog walkers and owners to walking a maximum of four dogs at any one time, with a maximum of two dogs being off the lead at any one time.
They must also have poo bags – namely having to “be able to provide the means to pick up their dog’s faeces at the request of the authorised officer.”
DOGS MUST BE PUT ON THEIR LEAD WHEN ORDERED TO:
The whole of Blackpool would be made a “dogs on leads by direction” area, which means owners will have to put their pet on a lead when asked to by “an authorising officer.”
Failing to do so would result in a fine of £100.
DOGS MUST BE MICROCHIPPED TO BE OUT IN PUBLIC:
Since 2016, it has been a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipper – and the details kept up to date.
The council said it is “proposing to disallow non-microchipped dogs from being exercised off-lead in any public place,” with £100 fines facing those who ignore the restriction.