Derbyshire Dales councillors to decide on dog ‘no-go areas’

Photographer-Ian Georgeson-07921 567360'Edinburgh takes the lead on commercial dog walking in city parks, New Park management rules which see professional dog walkers required to register with the council for the first time.
Photographer-Ian Georgeson-07921 567360'Edinburgh takes the lead on commercial dog walking in city parks, New Park management rules which see professional dog walkers required to register with the council for the first time.

Dogs could be banned from certain outdoor areas after residents kicked up a stink about owners not picking up after their pets.

Derbyshire Dales District Council’s environment committee is to decide on Thursday whether to adopt a policy that will see four-legged friends excluded from certain areas and a strict dogs-on-leads policy in others.

The proposals would also give council workers the power to issue fixed penalty notices to dog owners who fail to remove dog mess.

If the dog orders are approved they will come into effect from April 1.

A council spokesman said: “The proposed orders seek to balance the needs of responsible dog owners against the interests of those affected by dogs, particularly children.

“In addition to spending £830,000 on street cleaning every year - including the cost of emptying 350 dog waste bins across the district - dog fouling complaints have doubled in the Derbyshire Dales in recent years.”

A report to be presented at Thursday’s meeting reveals that while 100 per cent of people responding to a consultation on the issue supported the proposed dog fouling orders and excluding dogs from enclosed children’s play areas, concerns were expressed about the possibility of excluding dogs from some open sports pitches.

There was support for dogs being kept on leads in cemeteries, churchyards and ornamental gardens, but objections to the possibility of dogs being forced to be kept on leads in large recreational spaces such as the District Council’s main parks in Bakewell and Matlock.

Dogs could be excluded from wet and dry play areas in Matlock’s Hall Leys Park and the Bakewell Recreation Grounds – and would have to be kept on leads in the rest of the grounds between 11am and 4pm.

Anyone failing to comply once an order is in place will be issued with a fixed penalty notice by council staff or could risk prosecution. A fine of up to £1,000 could be imposed on conviction in a magistrates’ court. However, it is proposed to offer a fixed penalty notice of £100, reduced to £75 if payment is made early, as an alternative to prosecution. In the consultation, 88 per cent supported the level of the fixed penalty fine.

Before implementing the new orders, the council plans to deliver an educational and promotional campaign to raise awareness, including activity days.

To view the report online, visit www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/latestpapers